OGIER HOLDS OFF LATVALA TO WIN IN WALES
Sébastien Ogier and co-driver Julien Ingrassia have won Wales Rally GB. It's a fifth win for the French pairing in Wales. The Toyota's of Jari-Matti Latvala and Esapekka Lappi completed the podium.
Ogier took the lead Saturday afternoon, when Ott Tänak had to pull over to the side of the road in SS16 with radiator damage. The Estonian was on course for his fourth consecutive WRC win.
The Power Stage was run during the first pass through SS20 (Gwydir), and not (as usual) during the final stage. The FIA disagreed with the proposal of the organisers to run the Power Stage in SS23 as the final stage of the rally (SS23, Great Orme) is not representative for the rest of the rally. Great Orme is fully run on tarmac, whilst the whole rally is on gravel.
Jari-Matti Latvala took the lead from Ogier in SS20 by 3.6 seconds. But Ogier mastered the difficult Great Orme stage (SS21), to reduce the gap to 0.2 seconds. The Frenchman retook the lead in SS22 and extended the gap in the second run through Great Orme.
Latvala won the Power Stage, ahead of team-mate Ott Tänak who rejoined on Sunday under Rally2 regulations. Sébastien Ogier became third in the Power Stage, just 4 tenths quicker than Neuville. Esapekka Lappi took the final point from the Power Stage.
Neuville jumped Hyundai teammates Andreas Mikkelsen and Hayden Paddon as well as Mads Østberg on the final day to finish fifth overall. Just 4 seconds behind Craig Breen, who finished fourth overall.
Kalle Rovanperä dominated the WRC2 category during the rally to finish ninth overall. Rovanperä's Skoda teammate Pontus Tidemand finished in tenth, a minute and a half behind Rovanperä.
Ogier climbs to second in the Drivers' championship with a total of 182 points. Thierry Neuville still leads the championship with 189 points. Ott Tänak drops to third, the Estonian scored 4 points in the Power Stage which brings his total to 168 points.
Next up on the WRC calendar is Rally RACC Catalunya - Rally de Espana (October 25th to October 28th).
Wales Rally GB 2018 Overall results can be found here!
WRC 2018 Championship standings after Round 11 out of 13 can be found here!
Photo: Red Bull Content Pool