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Ogier leads after superspecials

Sebastien Ogier, Citroen, Rally JapanSebastien Ogier took an early lead in Rally Japan by winning both runs through the Sapporo superspecial on the opening evening.

Back in the works Citroen team this weekend as his drive-swapping with Dani Sordo continues, Ogier has a two-second advantage over Ford's Mikko Hirvonen.

Sordo, driving for Citroen Junior in Japan before rejoining the works squad for the subsequent asphalt rallies, is third, followed by Jari-Matti Latvala (Ford), Kimi Raikkonen (Citroen Junior) and Sebastien Loeb (Citroen). Just 0.4s covers second to sixth places following the short opening stage. Raikkonen was an encouraging second quickest on the second run.

A feverish Petter Solberg is 5.7s off the lead in ninth and struggling with illness.

"I've been in bed the whole afternoon sweating and I'm not in very good form," he admitted. "But that's how it is. This is part of the game and I hope I'll be better for tomorrow. But today has been a very bad day."

While the majority of the rally route is on gravel, the Sapporo stadium is an asphalt stage - but it is used no fewer than eight times during the course of the event.

Pos  Driver              Car      Time/Gap
 1.  Sebastien Ogier     Citroen   2m43.2s
 2.  Mikko Hirvonen      Ford       + 2.0s
 3.  Dani Sordo          Citroen    + 2.1s
 4.  Jari-Matti Latvala  Ford       + 2.3s
 =   Kimi Raikkonen      Citroen    + 2.3s
 6.  Sebastien Loeb      Citroen    + 2.4s
 7.  Federico Villagra   Ford       + 4.6s
 8.  Henning Solberg     Ford       + 5.7s
 =   Petter Solberg      Citroen    + 5.7s
10.  Matthew Wilson      Ford       + 6.6s
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Ogier clinches victory in Japan
Q & A: Raikkonen on Japan exit
Ogier takes lead from Solberg
Misheard note caused Raikkonen exit
Raikkonen crashes out of Japan
Solberg back in lead as rivals slow
Loeb to make final push to catch up
Wilson hugely frustrated to retire
Ogier pondering slowing tactics
Team: Solberg penalty a close call
Solberg penalty hands lead to Latvala
Solberg hangs on as rivals close in
Solberg's illness eases on day two
Q & A: Solberg on his strong start
Q & A with Citroen's Smeets
Ford praises drivers' performance
Solberg leads into day two in Japan
Q & A: Al Qassimi on Japan crash
Al Qassimi and Orr escape big crash
Team amazed Solberg fit for start
Raikkonen to change gearbox
Ogier happy to let Solberg lead
Solberg leads as Loeb struggles
Loeb not thinking of title yet
Teams criticial of Rally Japan stages
Latvala downplays shakedown pace
Raikkonen crashes during shakedown
Q & A: Hirvonen on Japan and title
Hirvonen: Narrow stage key to Japan