WRC Rally GB: Ogier leads from Meeke after Latvala's crash

Sebastien Ogier extended a comfortable Rally GB lead on the first morning after his Volkswagen World Rally Championship team-mate Jari-Matti Latvala crashed out

WRC Rally GB: Ogier leads from Meeke after Latvala's crash

There was little to choose between the two VW drivers on the opening Hafren stage, with Latvala initially taking the advantage on the splits.

But Ogier completed the stage 0.8 seconds faster and Latvala's challenge didn't last much longer, as he slid into a ditch just two corners onto the short Sweet Lamb stage that followed.

Latvala's car could not rejoin and he had to retire from the opening leg.

That elevated top British driver Kris Meeke to second place for Citroen, but by the time the field headed for the midday tyre change Ogier was already 12s clear.

Meeke is still holding off the third VW of Andreas Mikkelsen for second place.

Mikkelsen missed Thursday's shakedown to visit VW's clinic in Germany for tests on an undisclosed medical problem, but returned in time for the ceremonial start in the evening and runs 4s behind Meeke.

The second Citroen of Mads Ostberg is also in the thick of the podium fight, trailing Mikkelsen by 6s.

Welsh hero Elfyn Evans completes the early top five in the leading M-Sport Ford, ahead of Hyundai pair Dani Sordo and Hayden Paddon.

Evans's team-mate Ott Tanak is one of many drivers struggling to find confidence in the wet and muddy conditions, and is down in eighth.

Latvala was far from the only World Rally Car runner in trouble early on.

Thierry Neuville - demoted from Hyundai's main team this weekend due to recent poor form - retired with a lost wheel on the Myherin stage while running seventh. The team put it down to studs shearing rather than a driver error.

The fourth i20 of Kevin Abbring came to a halt on the same stage with a water leak.

Ex-Formula 1 driver Robert Kubica's time in Wales got off to a difficult start with gearbox problems on shakedown and became worse still on Friday.

A promising eighth after two stages, Kubica then sustained a puncture on Myherin and fell to 17th, three and a half minutes away from the leaders.

Autosport Live's as-it-happens Rally GB coverage resumes for SS4 from 1.30pm UK time

LEADING POSITIONS AFTER SS3:

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Rally GB: Sebastien Ogier and Jari-Matti Latvala set shakedown pace

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WRC Rally GB: VW's Ogier fights off challenge from Citroen's Meeke

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