Ogier leads in Wales with one day to go

The WRC season finale has just one day remaining to determine the final points. Ogier earned his crown early; however he wants the final victory of 2013!

Ogier leads in Wales with one day to go
Listen to this article

Sebastien Ogier will take a lead of 20.3 seconds into the final day of Wales Rally GB as he chases his first victory on the World Championship counter.

The Volkswagen Polo R driver began Saturday’s third leg with a lead of 20.1sec over his team-mate Jari-Matti Latvala, and he maintained that advantage despite a determined challenge from the Finn.

Ogier wasn’t fastest on any of the day’s seven stages, but judged his pace perfectly on the slippery forest roads of mid-Wales to round off the day with a clean run through the short asphalt stage at Chirk Castle in front of thousands of spectators.

“We just conserved the gap today, that was the plan,” said the Frenchman, whose current personal best in Wales is the 11th he achieved in 2011.

“I wanted to keep Jari-Matti at the same difference and we did that. Now there are fifty kilometres to go, but Rally GB is never finished before the end. It’s very tricky and we have to stay concentrated. We need to do the same job we’ve done up to now.”

Between them, Ogier’s team-mates Andreas Mikkelsen and Latvala won all of the day’s five forest stages, with Mikkelsen fastest on the first two and Latvala taking a hat-trick in the afternoon.

But while Latvala was encouraged by his ability to take time out of Ogier on the latter tests, he ended the day concerned by his lack of pace earlier on.

“I don’t have a clear answer, and I wish I did,” he said. “It seems that especially in the morning on the gravel I don’t find the rhythm and it takes a couple of stages for me to get into it. I need to concentrate tomorrow. Maybe I’m loading too much pressure on myself but to beat Ogier you have to be ready in all conditions.”

Thierry Neuville is third on his last outing in a Ford Fiesta RS before a switch to Hyundai for 2014. The Belgian had a largely trouble free day, but was kept under pressure from Mikkelsen behind.

A lack of split times in Neuville’s car in the afternoon didn’t help him judge his speed, but the Belgian competed the day with a 20sec advantage. “I’ve always been close to the fastest except on the long stage, so I can be really pleased with my day,” he said.

Mikkelsen was satisfied too, having come out best in a three-way battle for fourth that became a duel on SS11 when Evgeny Novikov rolled out. “It’s been a great day, I’m happy that we managed to pull a little time back, [from Neuville] and we set some great times with no moments. It’s been fantastic,” he said.

Mads Ostberg is fifth, just 7.3sec further back, in his Qatar M-Sport Ford Fiesta RS. The Norwegian got a big step closer to Mikkelsen on the final forest stage, thanks in part to some suspension set-up advice from his father, and has fourth place in his sights on Sunday.

“It’s been a pretty good day for us,” he acknowledged. “We’ve found some improvements today and we can definitely try to fight back. I’m off to bed now for a good sleep. Tomorrow I’ll start with a good breakfast and then it’s flat-out!”

After Ostberg there is a gap of almost five minutes to Ford Fiesta RS driver Martin Prokop in sixth.

Dani Sordo is seventh, and Citroen’s sole remaining factory entry after Robert Kubica crashed out today for a second time. The Pole restarted after a crash on day two, but went off the road on SS11 after a pace-note misunderstanding.

WRC 2 leaders Elfyn Evans, Jari Ketomaa and Mark Higgins round off the top ten.

Sunday’s final day kicks off at 0856hrs with the 21.34km Dyfnant stage. The rally winner is scheduled to cross the finish podium in Llandudno at 1311hrs.

FIA WRC

shares
comments
More spills than thrills for Citroën
Previous article

More spills than thrills for Citroën

Next article

Sordo continues fightback in Wales

Sordo continues fightback in Wales
How team orders could make Hyundai's historic Acropolis Rally a Greek tragedy Prime

How team orders could make Hyundai's historic Acropolis Rally a Greek tragedy

Thierry Neuville led a maiden Hyundai 1-2-3 in the World Rally Championship, as the previously soft i20 N became a battle-hardened Greek warrior at the Acropolis Rally. But with team orders in play between the winner and Hyundai’s title protagonist Ott Tanak, could the result come back to haunt the team?

WRC
Sep 12, 2022
How Tanak triumphed amid a series of Belgium WRC blunders Prime

How Tanak triumphed amid a series of Belgium WRC blunders

After runaway World Rally Championship leader Kalle Rovanpera made his first major mistake of the season, the chance to take advantage was wide open for the chasing pack. Several of his rivals faltered to grasp the opportunity, but Ott Tanak made no such mistake and demonstrated his class with a third win of the campaign

WRC
Aug 22, 2022
Inside Toyota’s new WRC dream factory where rally conquerers come to life Prime

Inside Toyota’s new WRC dream factory where rally conquerers come to life

Toyota locked out the top four places in the World Rally Championship's recent Safari Rally Kenya in a clear indication of its GR Yaris Rally1 hybrid's pace and durability. Motorsport.com was recently given a tour of the new factory where its cars are designed, tested and built, and it reveals much about the commitment of the Japanese marque to continued WRC success.

WRC
Aug 19, 2022
How Rovanpera has reignited Finland's rallying obsession Prime

How Rovanpera has reignited Finland's rallying obsession

Finland may have a small population, but it has long enjoyed rallying success. Now that the nation has a new star to cheer in the form of Kalle Rovanpera, interest in the discipline is surging once again.

WRC
Aug 10, 2022
How Tanak spoiled Rovanpera's Finnish homecoming Prime

How Tanak spoiled Rovanpera's Finnish homecoming

Kalle Rovanpera and Toyota went into Rally Finland as overwhelming favourites but came away as runners-up to a resurgent Ott Tanak and Hyundai. While it may have dampened the homecoming party, it still moved the Finn closer to the ultimate World Rally Championship prize

WRC
Aug 8, 2022
Inside Hyundai’s F1-spec mobile WRC home Prime

Inside Hyundai’s F1-spec mobile WRC home

Hyundai is one of the World Rally Championship's big three, and has a brand-new travelling facility befitting of that status. The team invited Motorsport.com for a behind-the-scenes look at its state-of-the-art HQ, which comes complete with all the bells and whistles you'd expect of a top Formula 1 outfit.

WRC
Jul 27, 2022
How Rovanpera's latest masterclass left his WRC rivals stumped Prime

How Rovanpera's latest masterclass left his WRC rivals stumped

After trailing Toyota teammate Elfyn Evans for much of Rally Estonia's opening day, WRC points leader Kalle Rovanpera took advantage of a change in the weather and never looked back afterwards. Winning for a fifth time this year at the scene of his 2021 breakthrough, and with a breathtaking powerstage bonus for good measure, his advantage is already looking difficult to topple.

WRC
Jul 18, 2022
How the WRC captures its stunning visuals Prime

How the WRC captures its stunning visuals

Whether it’s the mountains of Monte Carlo, the snow of Sweden or the Kenya Savannah, the World Rally Championship is able to beam some of motorsport’s most spectacular footage to television screens while operating in the harshest of environments. Motorsport.com went behind the scenes to unearth the secrets that make this logistical challenge possible

WRC
Jul 7, 2022