SS7 is the repeat of the day’s longest stage – the 39.12km Stanczyki test. Tanak took victory on this morning’s running, but with the road-sweeping factor reduced, we knew Ogier would be the one to look out for in this afternoon’s leg – sure enough, the stage win goes to the Frenchman.
A time of 18:58.0 not only means that Ogier takes the stage win, but he’s moved up the overall order into the top spot, too. ‘I was a little too aggressive.’ he commented, referring to the state of his tyres. ‘We’re going to make it, but we’ll have to be careful.’
Ott Tanak, who was leading the rally before this stage, suffered through the stage and drops to third overall – he also left the stage time board free for it to become a Volkswagen 1-2-3, with Jari-Matti Latvala leading Andreas Mikkelsen behind Ogier. ‘No brakes, no tyres, what did you expect?’ explained a clearly frustrated Tanak, who ended seventh quickest through the stage. ‘I don’t know how we can mess up our tyre choices so often. Not nice.’
Fourth quickest in the stage was the Kiwi gravel specialist Hayden Paddon – he’s been consistently quick, and is fifth overall. He’s followed by Robert Kubica and Thierry Neuville to round out the top six – Neuville’s time means that he’s overtaken Kris Meeke overall to take sixth, due to a tyre choice mistake by Meeke. ‘It was the wrong choice for sure. i was hemorrhaging time all the way through.’ he commented – the soft tyres fitted all-round on his Citroen did not stand the test.
The crews now head to the second running of the Goldap stage; the 14.75km test that was run as SS3 this morning. After that they’ll have a regroup followed by the Super Special at the Mikolajki Arena at 19:00 local time, which ends the day’s rallying.