Ogier takes early lead in Turkey
|By Steven English||Friday, April 16th 2010, 08:51 GMT|
Sebastien Ogier leads after the opening loop of the Rally of Turkey, as Citroen edges ahead of Ford in the early stages.
The first stage wins were shared around, with Petter Solberg winning two, Ogier one and Mikko Hirvonen one, and the first five cars are still covered by less than eight seconds.
Dani Sordo is in second place, just two seconds behind Ogier, with Mikko Hirvonen third in the first of the Fords. The Finn won SS2 but was outside the top three on the other three stages.
"These are very fast stages, it's going to be a very good fight with all the big drivers very close," said Hirvonen.
Solberg is fourth, 7.4 seconds off Ogier. The 2003 champion won the opening stage as the last of the leaders to run on the road, and was quickest again on SS4, which he described as "Oi, oi, oi - very fast" at its conclusion.
World championship leader Sebastien Loeb lies fifth after a quiet morning running first on the road, although he is just 0.4 seconds behind Solberg.
Jari-Matti Latvala fell a little way behind the front runners on SS4 when he clipped a bank early on and drove the rest of the stage cautiously, suspecting that he had a puncture his Focus. He still finished the loop just 12.6 seconds off the lead in sixth spot.
Kimi Raikkonen ninth after the first loop, just under a minute off the lead. He was 17 seconds slower than the winner on each of the first three stages, but reduced that to 12s on the high-speed SS4.
"It's been okay," Raikkonen said at the end of SS4. "The second stage was crazy because we didn't have so much feeling about it. I hit some rock on this one [SS4], I couldn't avoid it, I don't know if it has damaged the rear. But apart from that, it's been okay, not too bad."
Henning Solberg and Ken Block crashed out in the same section of SS1, both believed to have had accidents after clipping large rocks. Both will return tomorrow under the superally rule.
Matthew Wilson had a lucky escape at the same spot in SS1 when he ran wide in his Ford and glanced off a boulder. He finished the morning in eighth place, 51 seconds off the lead and 11 behind Federico Villagra.
Times after SS4:
Pos Driver Car Time/Gap 1. Sebastien Ogier Citroen 27m15.2s 2. Dani Sordo Citroen +2.1 3. Mikko Hirvonen Ford +3.0 4. Petter Solberg Citroen +7.4 5. Sebastien Loeb Citroen +7.8 6. Jari-Matti Latvala Ford +12.6 7. Federico Villagra Ford +40.4 8. Matthew Wilson Ford +51.7 9. Kimi Raikkonen Citroen +58.6 10. Ott Tanak Mitsubishi +2:10.5