RALLY SWE­DEN Volk­swa­gen star tops them all again – de­spite weather dra­mas

Motor Sport News - - Headline News - Elfyn Evans flies again, p22 STAGE TIMES

my favourites. and we

A sim­i­lar Ram­men ex­it­ing over Ogier. through same odds tickle

The stage pow­er­stage; fall­ing

With his weapon out for

Not knew go­ing

“I knew Paddon any­thing let’s be – we were on speed Con­tin­ued

Ogier 8m 53.0s Ogier Mikkelsen +0.3s

SS2 Ro­j­den 1 (11.47 miles)

Ogier 9m 32.3s Ogier Mikkelsen +6.9s

SS3 Svull­rya 1 (15.06 miles)

Ogier 12m 47.9s Ogier Mikkelsen +24.2s

SS4 Svull­rya 2 (15.06 miles)

Meeke 12m 44.2s Ogier Meeke +21.0s

SS5 Ro­j­den 2 (11.47 miles)

Paddon 9m 52.8s Ogier Paddon +30.9s

SS6 Torsby (10.24 miles)

Paddon 8m 56.6s Ogier Paddon +26.9s

SS7 Fredriks­berg (11.30 miles)

Fastest: Ogier 9m 43.4s Leader: Ogier Se­cond: Paddon +32.4s

SS8 Var­gasen 1 (15.35 miles)

Fastest: Lat­vala 12m 56.7s Leader: Ogier Se­cond: Paddon +8.8s

SS9 Ram­men (14.14 miles)

Fastest: Lat­vala 11m 03.2s Leader: Ogier Se­cond: Paddon +10.2s

SS10 Var­gasen 2 (15.35 miles)

Fastest: Ogier 12m 48.8s Leader: Ogier Se­cond: Paddon +15.9s

SS11 Karl­stad (1.18 miles)

Fastest: Lat­vala 1m 34.9s Leader: Ogier Se­cond: Paddon +17.1s

SS12 Ver­mull­sasen 2 (9.86 miles)

Fastest: Ogier 7m 42.7s Leader: Ogier Se­cond: Paddon +29.8s

Con­tin­ued from page 21

If it was speed you were af­ter, Ogier was the man. He ripped through Ram­men, 1.4s faster than his ri­val. “I was com­pletely flat out!” said Ogier. “It was fun.”

The gap sat at a frac­tion over 10 sec­onds. Var­gasen again.

And Ogier’s mo­ment. And it was a big, big, very big one.

On the lim­iter in top com­ing to­wards a tow­er­ingly quick right over a small crest, the Julien In­gras­sia call was for a feather-like lift. Ogier did as he was told, but on the way into the cor­ner, the rear of the car be­came un­set­tled.

At 120mph, the Polo’s left-rear dived into the trees. It took Ogier two hand­fuls of lock to pull it back. The crew-fac­ing on­board showed a wide-eyed In­gras­sia look up briefly from his notes. Ogier blinked, his brain still try­ing to com­pute what just hap­pened. In­stinc­tively, nei­ther missed a beat.

“That was a close one,” Ogier ad­mit­ted at the fin­ish, buzzing like a man who has just walked out of a po­lice sta­tion car­ry­ing a smok­ing gun. “We were over the limit in that cor­ner. I think I had my lucky star with me to­day. That mo­ment was al­most the end and that’s not the place you want to end. It would have been 200kph di­rectly to the trees. I get this prob­lem some­times on the se­cond loop of stages, the line is a lit­tle bit dis­turbed in the cor­ner and the rear gets loose. I have to say, this one was quite scary. I kept it on the road, but, for sure, there was some luck this time.”

That mo­ment made time, an­other five sec­onds. And with just a su­per­spe­cial (ad­mit­tedly a muddy and very tricky one at that) in Karl­stad and Var­mull­sasen to come, Ogier was look­ing good. He doesn’t nor­mally drop th­ese. He didn’t. Vic­tory on the pow­er­stage sealed the per­fect start to the year.

“It’s nice to make the per­fect start for the first time in my ca­reer,” he said. The win, how­ever, had been made on his own su­per Satur­day.

“In terms of pure speed, with the con­di­tions I have, that was one of the best of my life,” he said. “I never had so many mo­ments in one day of ral­ly­ing.”

Ogier took his ex­tra gear in Swe­den last week and no­body could live with him. If there is any con­so­la­tion for the chas­ing pack it comes from the fact that an on the limit Ogier was forced to ride his luck. Paddon and his pals have seen that, if they can keep the pres­sure on, they could force a mis­take.

But, for now, the mon­key stays on Paddon’s back. For now.

Ost­berg won his race with Mikkelsen to be top Nor­we­gian home in third, while Ott Tanak turned in a great drive to fifth, bag­ging DMACK its best re­sult in the snow.

Dani Sordo was sixth and could po­ten­tially have been more of a threat with­out a punc­ture. Hen­ning Sol­berg made a wel­come and en­ter­tain­ing re­turn in sev­enth, one place ahead of Craig Breen, who made eighth on his Citroen de­but, up­hold­ing the hon­our of the French firm af­ter an er­rant rock robbed a se­cond-placed-run­ning Kris Meeke of a shot at the win for the se­cond rally in suc­ces­sion. The North­ern Ir­ish­man de­served more. His fel­low Brit Elfyn Evans got ev­ery­thing he de­served af­ter a se­cond suc­ces­sive Wrc2-win­ning drive in M-sport’s Ford Fi­esta R5.

But in terms of that event and this re­port, there’s only one way to end it – with the news that Rally Swe­den pulls a three-year deal to re­main in the World Rally Cham­pi­onship from the jaws of ab­so­lute de­spair.

You’ve got it: it’s a death row par­don, this time it’s not too late.

Thanks Ala­nis. ■


1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 14 19 23 24 26 34 R R R

Per Ek­lund marked the 40th an­niver­sary of Swe­den win Mads Ost­berg scored Ford’s first podium of the year with a solid third place

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