* Eight special stages, eight stage wins for the Polo R WRC
* 4:4 between WRC rivals: Ogier and Latvala put on grand finale
* Mikkelsen/Fløene set to start under Rally2 regulations on Saturday
Four stage wins for the world champion*, four for this year’s runner-up in the World Championship – Volkswagen drivers Sébastien Ogier and Jari-Matti Latvala set the pace on the opening day of the Rally Great Britain. Sébastien Ogier/Julien Ingrassia (F/F) went fastest on four of the eight special stages, with Jari-Matti Latvala/Miikka Anttila winning the remaining four to complete a Volkswagen shut-out.
In extremely muddy and slippery conditions in Wales, both pairs moved to the top of the standings on the opening stage and never looked back. By the end of day one, they had gradually opened a commanding lead of over a minute over their closest rival Mikko Hirvonen (M-Sport-Ford). They were helped in their quest by their early starting positions. As first and second in the Driver and Co-Driver competitions, they had the honour of opening the route through the Welsh forests. Ogier goes into Saturday’s nine stages with a slender lead of just 6.6 seconds over Latvala.
The day came to a premature end for Andreas Mikkelsen/Ola Fløene (N/N). On Friday’s second stage, “Dyfi”, the third-placed driver in the World Championship braked too late after a crest, skidded into a ditch and damaged the suspension on his World Rally Car. Mikkelsen and Fløene were forced to sit out the day’s remaining six stages, but will return to action on Saturday under Rally2 regulations.