Rally de España: Day 2
Ogier opens up a lead for TOYOTA GAZOO Racing
Sébastien Ogier increased his lead for the TOYOTA GAZOO Racing World Rally Team on Saturday at Rally de España and will take an advantage of 20 seconds into the final day as the team closes in on the manufacturers’ championship.
The second day took place over well-known stages mainly to the north-east of Salou, which also hosted its traditional seafront spectator stage to round out the day. Conditions were more consistent than on Friday, and Ogier excelled throughout in his GR YARIS Rally1 HYBRID as he looks to close out his first win of the season.
With one stage win in the morning he extended his margin from 4.8 to 9.7 seconds, before he posted another two fastest times at the beginning of the afternoon loop when he more than doubled his advantage overall.
Team-mate and freshly crowned world champion Kalle Rovanperä was also performing well on stages where he has less experience than his rivals. Some time loss in the penultimate stage of the day cost him most of the gap that he had over third-placed Thierry Neuville, who then took the position in the short Salou street stage, but there is only 1.4s between them going into the final day.
Having dropped behind with tyre damage on Friday, Elfyn Evans was battling closely with local hero Dani Sordo for fifth place during the morning, but lost ground in the afternoon as he continues to look for an improved feeling on the high-speed stages.
Takamoto Katsuta had a stronger Saturday in his TGR WRT Next Generation entry with some strong and consistent stage times and ends the day eighth overall.
Tom Fowler (Technical Director)
“We can be very happy with what we have managed to do here so far in Spain. Obviously it’s really important that we can secure the manufacturers’ championship, but it’s also very nice to see what Seb has been able to do here and for him to show what our GR YARIS Rally1 HYBRID is capable of on these great rallying roads. He’s looking really strong and really motivated and that’s great for the team, and he knows what he needs to do tomorrow. We’re analysing what happened with Kalle in the penultimate stage when he was missing a few seconds compared to everyone else, but we’re sure it was just a minor glitch and his car will be ready for tomorrow when hopefully we can see a nice fight until the end of the rally.”
Sébastien Ogier (Driver car 1)
“It’s been another good day today. It’s a nice feeling to have this kind of speed and to be able to increase the gap on almost every stage like we did today. It’s what you dream for coming to a rally. I’m really enjoying driving the GR YARIS this weekend, and today with a comparable road position to our nearest competitors we were able to make more of a lead. It would be nice to get a win and now we have to finish the job. Normally this should be a decent gap but there are still some kilometres to go, so the target is to stay out of trouble until the end.”
Elfyn Evans (Driver car 33)
“Today we were consistently a bit off the pace unfortunately. We already had some struggles yesterday and we couldn’t really overcome that today and find that last bit of feeling and confidence needed to fight at the front where we want to be. The car is clearly competitive and working well in the hands of my team-mates, but it’s just not suiting me perfectly at the moment. So it’s a bit of a frustrating situation but of course we’re trying to improve all the time and see what we can do, and again we’ll explore what we can tomorrow.”
Kalle Rovanperä (Driver car 69)
“It has been a nice day overall. Of course, Seb was faster all the time, he was pushing hard and driving really well and we couldn’t really match him, but we were not taking all the risks that we could have done. This afternoon in the first two stages we still had consistent and quite nice pace, but then on the next one we had a small issue with some settings which were wrong on the startline. It meant we were losing time with the hybrid system and we had to try and fix it during the stage. Thierry is now ahead of us but it’s still really close and hopefully tomorrow we will score a good result either way.”
End of day two (Saturday):
1 Sébastien Ogier/Benjamin Veillas (Toyota GR YARIS Rally1 HYBRID) 2h10m18.5s
2 Thierry Neuville/Martijn Wydaeghe (Hyundai i20 N Rally1 HYBRID) +20.7s
3 Kalle Rovanperä/Jonne Halttunen (Toyota GR YARIS Rally1 HYBRID) +22.1s
4 Ott Tänak/Martin Järveoja (Hyundai i20 N Rally1 HYBRID) +36.6s
5 Dani Sordo/Cándido Carrera (Hyundai i20 N Rally1 HYBRID) +1m13.2s
6 Elfyn Evans/Scott Martin (Toyota GR YARIS Rally1 HYBRID) +1m27.6s
7 Craig Breen/Paul Nagle (Ford Puma Rally1 HYBRID) +1m39.7s
8 Takamoto Katsuta/Aaron Johnston (Toyota GR YARIS Rally1 HYBRID) +1m58.6s
9 Adrien Fourmaux/Alexandre Coria (Ford Puma Rally1 HYBRID) +2m13.7s
10 Pierre-Louis Loubet/Vincent Landais (Ford Puma Rally1 HYBRID) +2m59.2s
(Results as of 20:00 on Saturday, for the latest results please visit www.wrc.com)
The final day is formed by two runs over the Pratdip and Riudecanyes stages. The second pass of the latter test, which is known for its crowd-pleasing roundabouts and part of which was used already for shakedown – will host the rally-ending Power Stage.
Press kit and Event pictures will be uploaded here
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