Séb Ogier grabs Swedish overall lead

Séb Ogier grabs Swedish overall leadFrom General Article [ 06/02/2014 ].
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Sébastien Ogier fought it out with his Volkswagen team-mates on day one of Rally Sweden, as the German manufacturer ended the first leg with its three Polos holding the top three positions. The French driver had a particularly close battle with Andreas Mikkelsen, from whom he snatched the lead on the day's final stage.

First on the road for today's short 62km leg, Seb feared that his starting position would count against him, especially given that the frozen ground was covered this morning with a fine layer of fresh snow that had fallen overnight. Nevertheless, being first on the road did not prevent him from winning the first two stages and establishing a healthy lead over his rivals.

Conditions then turned against him on the third test (Finnskogen, 16.82km), where he lost 7.1s to Mikkelsen. The Norwegian continued to move back up the standings, managing to grab the overall lead in the afternoon by two tenths of a second over his team-mate.

Sébastien Ogier was pushing hard and finally on Torsby, the last stage of the day, he retook the lead of the rally. This evening, he tops a Volkswagen one-two-three, 5.8s ahead of Mikkelsen and 12.2s ahead of Latvala!

"To be first onto the route at a winter rally in Sweden is always difficult. As such, I was not sure what position we would find ourselves in come the evening. Anything in the top three would have been great," explained Sébastien Ogier. "I am really extremely happy that we are actually leading the rally. The conditions were remarkably good, and better than we had expected. I am very happy with my own performance. It was a perfect day for us, and to have won three special stages from this starting position is a dream result. We now go into day two full of optimism."

Day two of Rally Sweden will feature 117km of timed sections spread over nine stages, all identical to those contested last season. The day's action will get underway at 7am at the Hagfors service park and will finish in the evening. From 7pm onwards, the crews will be back at the Karlstad racecourse for another Super Special Stage, held on the same course as on Wednesday evening.