MOTORSPORT NEWS Rally

Ogier dismisses Spanish Shakedown victory

Defending world champion Sébastien Ogier topped the timesheets at Thursday’s pre-event shakedown for RallyRACC Catalunya – Rally de España – but later admitted he wasn’t the fastest driver on stage.

Sebastien Ogier
Sebastien Ogier

The Frenchman completed the 2.97km mixed gravel and Tarmac stage in 2m13.9s at the wheel of his Volkswagen Polo R, but said his closest rival Dani Sordo was quicker.

“I want to be honest about shakedown, my time was better only because I overshot a chicane,” Ogier explained. “Dani should be the fastest. But it’s okay, the result doesn’t count for the race.”

Hyundai driver Sordo was one-tenth slower than Ogier through the Salou-based test, which was wet and slippery after heavy rain on Wednesday.

“I made sure I was first on the road this morning because I expected it would be muddy. In fact only the surface was muddy, and the grip got better and better,” said the Spaniard, who set his quickest time on his third and final pass.

“Really this stage is for fun only. We didn’t learn much driving big asphalt chicanes with gravel tyres, and I don’t expect Friday’s stages will have so much mud on them. I am expecting normal gravel conditions tomorrow,” he said.

Ogier’s Volkswagen team-mate Andreas Mikkelsen was third fastest. Ott Tänak, in a Ford Fiesta RS, and Kris Meeke, in Citroen’s DS 3, tied fourth.

Crews are now en route to Barcelona for the ceremonial start. The rally’s first stage, run on the streets of the city, will start at 1806hrs.

Leading times at Rally de España Shakedown

PositionDriverCarTime
1OgierVW Polo R2m13.9s
2SordoHyundai i202m14.0s
3MikkelsenVW Polo R2m15.1s
=4TanakFord Fiesta RS2m15.6s
=4MeekeDS 32m15.6s
6LatvalaVW Polo R2m15.9s
7PaddonHyundai i202m16.2s
=8NeuvilleHyundai i202m16.9s
=8OstbergFord Fiesta RS2m16.9s
10BertelliFord Fiesta RS2m17.0s