Loeb resists Ogier's charge

Sebastien Loeb still leads the Rally Catalunya at the end of the first day, but only by 3.8 seconds over Sebastien Ogier after a second-loop charge from the younger Frenchman

Loeb resists Ogier's charge

World champion Loeb had taken a surprisingly comfortable lead this morning despite running first on what were predominantly gravel stages - this traditionally-asphalt event having switched to an innovative mixed-surface format for 2010.

Loeb felt that slightly damp conditions had limited the amount of loose dust on the stages on the first pass, but found things more slippery this afternoon - particularly on SS4, where Citroen Junior driver Ogier was 8.5 seconds quicker than the factory number one.

Ogier could not make similar in-roads on the following two stages though, and admitted that with the remaining two legs based on asphalt, this might be as close as he could get to Loeb.

"I think it's a good day - I am not so far from Seb, so it's good," said Ogier. "Tomorrow I have to try and follow him, and I know that on Tarmac it's going to be very difficult."

Small mistakes meant Jari-Matti Latvala could not keep up with morning sparring partner Ogier, and having now fallen to 16.1s behind Loeb, the Ford driver is aiming to hang on to his third place. The Finn will face a tough challenge from Petter Solberg, whose stage win on SS5 brought him to within 2.2s of Latvala going into leg two.

Mikko Hirvonen runs a low-key fifth in the second Ford, while Dani Sordo was despondent to end the opening day of his home rally back in sixth place, having struggled to find confidence in his Citroen this afternoon.

Stobart's Matthew Wilson is currently winning the battle of the satellite Fords ahead of Munchi's driver Federico Villagra and Monster's Ken Block, while Henning Solberg has got among the WRC machinery in the S2000 Ford Fiesta.

The Junior class is the only one of the support categories running in Spain. Local rising star Yeray Lemes leads, but third place for Aaron Burkart behind title rival Hans Weijs will be sufficient for Burkart to become the series' final champion if positions stay the same.

Pos Driver Car Time/Gap 1. Sebastien Loeb Citroen 1h25m26.8s 2. Sebastien Ogier Citroen + 3.8s 3. Jari-Matti Latvala Ford + 19.9s 4. Petter Solberg Citroen + 22.4s 5. Mikko Hirvonen Ford + 42.4s 6. Dani Sordo Citroen + 54.7s 7. Matthew Wilson Ford + 2m46.9s 8. Federico Villagra Ford + 3m21.2s 9. Ken Block Ford + 3m42.8s 10. Henning Solberg Ford + 4m21.6s 
shares
comments
Loeb puts pace down to 'relaxing'
Previous article

Loeb puts pace down to 'relaxing'

Next article

Burkart crash jeopardises Junior title

Burkart crash jeopardises Junior title
Load comments
How WRC legend Ogier will be remembered by his peers Plus

How WRC legend Ogier will be remembered by his peers

After winning his eighth WRC title, Sebastien Ogier has drawn the curtain on his full-time rallying career. To understand Ogier's legacy, many of his former rivals, team-mates and colleagues have shared their thoughts on a vastly successful career

WRC
Nov 26, 2021
Ranking lost WRC legend Richard Burns' 10 best rallies Plus

Ranking lost WRC legend Richard Burns' 10 best rallies

Richard Burns was a determined driver who took on the best rally drivers in the world during a boom period in the early 2000s, and beat them. On the 20th anniversary of his crowning glory in winning the 2001 WRC title, and 16 years on from his death on the same date, Autosport picks out his 10 greatest drives

WRC
Nov 25, 2021
The internal focus that made Burns a legendary world rally champion Plus

The internal focus that made Burns a legendary world rally champion

At the turn of the millennium, WRC was full to the brim with rallying's great and good - and 20 years ago on this day, Richard Burns became England's first world rally champion. Although Burns' natural talent drove him to the top, his steely determination and mental strength was the key attribute behind his title-winning form

WRC
Nov 25, 2021
How Ogier emerged out of Loeb's shadow to form his own WRC legend Plus

How Ogier emerged out of Loeb's shadow to form his own WRC legend

OPINION: Adding an eighth WRC title to his name, Sebastien Ogier has bowed out from full-time rallying in style. Having been compared throughout his career with nine-time champion Sebastien Loeb, Ogier has convincingly demonstrated that he can stand on his own as one of the greatest rally drivers in history

WRC
Nov 22, 2021
How confronting self-doubt drove Ogier to become a WRC legend Plus

How confronting self-doubt drove Ogier to become a WRC legend

This weekend's Rally Monza marks the end of an era in the World Rally Championship, as Sebastien Ogier prepares to bring down the curtain on his full-time career with an eighth title. For all his enduring success, the Toyota driver reveals in an exclusive interview that lingering insecurities have compelled his quest for perfection

WRC
Nov 18, 2021
The third generation McRae on his way to the WRC Plus

The third generation McRae on his way to the WRC

The McRae family name is steeped in rallying history, with eight British titles between Jimmy, Colin and Alister - plus the small matter of the 1995 WRC title too. Next on the conveyor of talent is Alister's 17-year-old Max McRae, who’s setting out in Australia to conquer the world of rallying and return the famous name to the WRC...

WRC
Nov 12, 2021
Inside Hyundai’s radical approach to prepare for the WRC hybrid era Plus

Inside Hyundai’s radical approach to prepare for the WRC hybrid era

As the World Rally Championship undergoes its biggest shift in regulations for a generation, teams are taking radical measures to prepare for its new era. Hyundai's unique approach involved conducting a private 1500km rally in Italy and Autosport went to see how the team is preparing for 2022

WRC
Nov 4, 2021
How Neuville stole the show from Ogier vs Evans slugfest in Spain Plus

How Neuville stole the show from Ogier vs Evans slugfest in Spain

While all pre-event chat focused on the two World Rally Championship title fighters, their closest challenger charged into the spotlight on Rally Spain. Thierry Neuville's star turn and another strong drive from Elfyn Evans in his fight with Sebastien Ogier made for an intriguing event as the 2021 campaign nears its crunch point

WRC
Oct 18, 2021