Rally Sweden: Sebastien Ogier pulling away on Friday
|By Matt Beer||Friday, February 8th 2013, 10:41 GMT|
Sebastien Ogier is pulling away in the Rally Sweden lead after the first loop of Friday morning stages.
Initially the Volkswagen driver was in a tight battle with team-mate Jari-Matti Latvala and Sebastien Loeb's Citroen. Just one second covered the trio at the end of Lesjofors, the morning's opener.
But after that, Ogier began to move clear. A string of fastest stage times put him 10.1s after SS4.
Latvala fell back to third with a disappointing time on SS3, before getting within 0.8s as he regained confidence on the Vargasen stage.
Mads Ostberg should be a factor in the lead battle given his pace on the stages. But penalties for arriving late at SS3 having had to try and rectify overheating problems on the road section mean he is 40s back in sixth place.
Top Ford is, remarkably, World Rally Car debutant Pontus Tidemand. The WRC Academy graduate is just ahead of Qatar M-Sport pair Evgeny Novikov and Ostberg in fourth.
The morning has already seen plenty of incidents. The most significant was Mikko Hirvonen crashing his Citroen on the first stage of the morning and losing 20 minutes stuck off the road.
Jarkko Nikara, Matthew Wilson and Khalid Al-Qassimi have also dropped several minutes with excursions, Wilson and Al-Qassimi having crashed at the same spot on SS2.
Leading times after SS4: Pos Driver Team/Car Time/Gap 1. Sebastien Ogier VW 38m26.0s 2. Sebastien Loeb Citroen + 10.1s 3. Jari-Matti Latvala VW + 10.9s 4. Pontus Tidemand PTM Ford + 35.7s 5. Evgeny Novikov Qatar M-Sport Ford + 37.8s 6. Mads Ostberg Qatar M-Sport Ford + 40.0s 7. Juho Hanninen Qatar M-Sport Ford + 1m02.6s 8. Dani Sordo Citroen + 1m12.5s 9. Thierry Neuville Qatar M-Sport Ford + 1m24.2s 10. Henning Solberg M-Sport Ford + 1m44.6s