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Thu 20 Oct 2022

Ogier heads wet Spain shakedown

Sébastien Ogier posted the benchmark time for Thursday morning’s shakedown at RallyRACC - Rally de España as Toyota Gazoo Racing cars claimed the top two positions.

Pos Driver Car Time
1. Sébastien OGIER Toyota GR Yaris 2min 40.1sec
2. Takamoto KATSUTA Toyota GR Yaris +0.9sec
3. Pierre-Louis LOUBET Ford Puma +1.2sec
4. Kalle ROVANPERÄ Toyota GR Yaris +1.4sec
5. Elfyn EVANS Toyota GR Yaris +1.5sec
6. Gus GREENSMITH Ford Puma +2.5sec
7. Adrien FOURMAUX Ford Puma +6.0sec
8. Craig BREEN Ford Puma +10.3sec
9. Pepe LÓPEZ Hyundai i20 N Rally2 +12.1sec
10. Alejandro CACHÓN Citroën C3 Rally2 +12.2sec

• Full coverage from RallyRACC - Rally de España will be available on WRC+ All Live here, including every stage broadcast as it happens as well as key interviews, features and expert analysis from the service park.

Rain showers meant tyre gambles came into play for the 4.21km warm-up at the legendary Coll de La Teixeta and Toyota - which could seal the manufacturers’ title here in Salou - was the only team to first send its cars out on Pirelli’s soft compound P Zero rubber. 

Ogier made the best of his tyres’ wet-weather performance, edging Takamoto Katsuta by just nine-tenths of a second on his third and final run. 

Victory here at this penultimate round would mark Ogier’s first triumph of the Rally1 era on what is his fifth outing during a part-time campaign for the Japanese squad. 

"We need to be committed, have confidence in the car and go for it," Ogier said of his approach to this rally. 

"It won't be easy for us tomorrow - all the new stages have a lot of cuts so it might be tricky after a few cars have passed. We have nothing to lose this weekend, so we have to try."

It looked set to be a Toyota 1-2-3-4 as rival teams struggled on hard compound tyres, however, the GR Yaris foursome never came to fruition after Pierre-Louis Loubet switched to soft compound rubber late in the session to pinch the final podium spot.

Ford Puma star Loubet was just 1.2sec slower than Ogier’s benchmark and bettered the times of Yaris men Kalle Rovanperä and Elfyn Evans - who ended fifth - by the finest of margins.  

Gus Greensmith took a similar approach to his M-Sport colleague and snuck into sixth with a late charge. He was followed by the similar cars of Adrien Fourmaux and Craig Breen.

WRC2 hopefuls Alejandro Cachón fared well in the challenging conditions to complete the top 10, while Ott Tänak was Hyundai's best-placed i20 N driver down in 11th.