STIRRING DRIVE : Frenchman Sebastien Ogier and co-driver Julien Ingrassia raise the dust in their VW Polo R on Stage 2 of the 50th Rally of Catalonia in Spain, on October 24, 2014. Image: AFP/ Josep Lago
SALOU, Spain - Frenchman Sebastien
Ogier sped into the lead at the Rally of Spain on Friday, clinching the fourth
super-special with a slick ride in his VW Polo.
The defending champion now enjoys an
8.4sec lead over Belgian Thierry Neuville (Hyundai) and a full 19.8sec on
Norway's Mads Ostberg (Citroen).
His only remaining rival for the
title, Finland's Jari-Matti Latvala (VW), was a disappointing seventh at +24.2sec.
FIRST DOWN TRACK
Ogier is leading Latvala by 27
points with just one race to go after this one. Latvala must finish above
Ogier, taking at least two more points, to remaining in the hunt at the Rally
of Great Britain.
Ogier, who was first down the dirt
track, said later: "That was a great morning for me and I'm a little
surprised to be in the lead but I gave it my all and made no mistake.
"When you lead off on the dirt
you need to drive clean but loose," explained the Frenchman. "And if
I can hold on until tonight that would be just great. Our disadvantage, of course,
is counterbalanced by the dirt thrown up which impedes the driver behind you.”
Latvala hit a rock on the morning's
first special and also suffered from the dust and was left deflated by the
morning's competition. He said: "I drove poorly this morning. I was trying
to save the tyres. My engine needs re-tuning and I need to get my confidence
Leg 1 classification from the 2014Rally of Spain on Oct 23
1 Andreas Mikkelsen (Norway) Volkswagen 3min39.1
2 Sebastien Ogier (France) Volkswagen 01.8
3 Thierry Neuville (Belgium) Hyundai +2.9
4 Jari-Matti Latvala (Finland) Volkswagen +3.1
5 Daniel Sordo (Spain) Hyundai +3.6
6 Kris Meeke (Britain) Citroen +4.0
7 Mads Ostberg (Norway) Citroen +4.6
8 Mikko Hirvonen (Finland) Ford +5.9
9 Martin Prokop (Czech Republic) Ford +7.2
10 Hayden Paddon (New Zealand) Hyundai +8.4