Motor Sport News - - Round - Weather: BY DAVID EVANS


Day one: 73.54 miles; 6 stages Weather: over­cast/snow­ing -8 to -1 cel­sius Se­bastien Ogier leads from the start and stays out front in a dis­jointed day not with­out prob­lems for the French­man. He goes off the road briefly on the morn­ing’s fi­nal stage but main­tains his lead through a snowy af­ter­noon. The rest of Volk­swa­gen’s at­tack is blunted. Jari-matti Lat­vala has bro­ken a drive­shaft from Torsby, leav­ing his Polo R WRC in rear-wheel drive – he later re­tires with sus­pen­sion trou­ble. His team-mate An­dreas Mikkelsen has spun in SS7 and ad­mits se­cond is the best he can hope for. As on the open­ing round last month, Kris Meeke is car­ry­ing the fight to Ogier. Sadly for the DS 3 WRC driver, the Monte Carlo anal­ogy doesn’t end there. An­other rock, an­other im­pact and an­other re­tire­ment from the day. Meeke clips a rock in the line on SS8, break­ing the front-right TCA. Hyundai’s Dani Sordo ar­rives at the end of the open­ing stage with high wa­ter tem­per­a­ture; Thierry Neuville has a failed rear dif­fer­en­tial two stages later. This is look­ing like a toughies for the new i20 WRCS… un­til Hay­den Paddon steps up. Kiwi Paddon has turned in an ex­cep­tional per­for­mance – no­tably quick­est through Ro­j­den 2 – to move into an overnight se­cond. Mads Ost­berg, Ott Tanak, Sordo and Mikkelsen are all within 15 sec­onds of the front in a rag­ing bat­tle for the pro­vi­sional run­ner-up spot.

End of day one: 1 Ogier/ In­gras­sia 1h03m10.6s; 2 Paddon/ Ken­nard +26.9s; 3 Ost­berg/ Floene +33.7s; 4 Tanak/ Molder +34.8s; 5 Sordo/ Marti +38.2s; 6 Mikkelsen/jaeger +42.0s.

Day two: 57.32 miles; 5 stages

snow­ing/over­cast -6 to 0 cel­sius Ogier is putting ev­ery­thing on the line to keep his name at the top of the timesheets. The French­man comes close to obliv­ion a cou­ple of times, but keeps the Polo dirty-side-down and on the road with a sen­sa­tional dis­play of driv­ing. Paddon is still se­cond, de­spite real po­ten­tial for a pos­si­ble maiden win. He’s scorched through Var­gasen to take 24s out of Ogier, cut­ting the gap to eight. The leader’s wal­low­ing in deep snow at the front of the field, wor­ried for the po­ten­tial of more of the same in Ram­men. The con­di­tions are com­pletely dif­fer­ent. Se­cond it is for Paddon. With 25s in hand over third-placed Ost­berg, Paddon looks good for se­cond place and it’s a sim­i­lar story for Mads on the bot­tom step of the pro­vi­sional podium – the M-sport driver has eked out 25s of his own from Mikkelsen. The Volk­swa­gen-driv­ing Nor­we­gian briefly ran in third place af­ter se­cond quick­est on the morn­ing’s opener, but gives best to the Fi­esta RS WRC for the rest of the day. Tanak ends a trou­ble-free day 24s be­hind Mikkelsen with Sordo the same again be­hind him. It’s an eerily sim­i­lar set of gaps com­ing out of a pretty mis­er­able and muddy su­per­spe­cial at the Karl­stad trot­ting track.

End of day two: 1 Ogier/ In­gras­sia 1h52m04.7s; 2 Paddon/ Ken­nard +17.1s; 3 Ost­berg/ Floene +42.3s; 4 Mikkelsen/jaeger +1h07.4s; 5 Tanak/ Molder +1m31.6s; 6 Sordo/ Marti +1m56.3s

Breen scored on his de­but for Citroen Trans­mis­sion woe for Lat­vala

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