Rally GB: Sebastien Ogier leads despite transmission scare

Volkswagen's Sebastien Ogier strengthened his Wales Rally GB lead on Friday afternoon, despite a late driveshaft scare, as all three Vokswagen Polos were hit by transmission problems

Rally GB: Sebastien Ogier leads despite transmission scare

World champion Ogier had voiced concerns about his transmission at the end of the morning loop and during the regroup lunch break - with the Polo of Andreas Mikkelsen having already suffered a driveshaft failure - but there were no signs of any troubles as Ogier blitzed the opening two stage of the afternoon loop, the repeat runs of Myherin and Sweet Lamb.

Ogier was fastest again on SS7 Hafren and then finished runner-up on the second run of Dyfnant - fortunately avoiding disaster after reporting his driveshaft had failed.

"I'm happy the day is done because I think the driveshaft just broke a moment ago," said Ogier at the stage end.

He nevertheless made it to the finish trouble-free, ending the afternoon with a lead of 37.3 seconds over Ott Tanak after winning five of Friday's eight stages.

Tanak was fastest on the third and fourth stages earlier in the day, but he couldn't replicate that form in the afternoon and slipped away from Ogier into a lonely second place.

The Estonian recorded fastest split times in his DMACK-shod Ford Fiesta RS, but opted to conserve his car having complained of a loose feeling at the left-rear- despite finding no faults during a regroup inspection.

He was unable to capitalise on Ogier's late SS8 woe, and instead dropped more time at the end of the stage with a puncture.

Latvala moved into third at the end of the morning's loop and consolidated that position over the first two stages of the afternoon, but he hit trouble towards the end of the penultimate stage of the day.

The Finn reported at the stage end that he had a transmission issue, while Volkswagen later confirmed that Latvala had like Mikkelsen suffered a broken driveshaft - although both were able to complete the afternoon's running.

Those woes promoted the PH Sport Citroen DS3 of Kris Meeke to third overall, before he was overtaken on the final stage by the Hyundai i20s of Thierry Neuville and Hayden Paddon.

Neuville set the pace on SS8 - becoming only the second man to better one of Ogier's stage times on the rally - to leapfrog Meeke and Paddon, and he now has a 3.8s advantage over team-mate Paddon in the three-way fight for third.

Dani Sordo lies sixth in the third i20WRC - though some way off the pace of team-mates Paddon and Neuville - with M-Sport's Mads Ostberg half a minute behind him in seventh.

Citroen driver Craig Breen was another big name to hit trouble on Friday afternoon.

The Irishman started the second loop sixth after an erratic start to the day, but he rolled on the first stage of the afternoon, the second attempt at Myherin, and retired from the afternoon's competition - although both he and co-driver Scott Martin were OK.

Follow all of the action from Saturday's Wales Rally GB stages with Autosport Race Centre Live from 8am UK time

LEADING POSITIONS AFTER SS8

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WRC Rally GB: Ogier leads Tanak despite transmission concerns

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