Rally News

Lappi edges Ogier after hectic Friday morning

Lappi edges Ogier after hectic Friday morning

Lappi made the most of an advantageous road position on the rough gravel stages to win two of the three tests that made up the morning loop.

The Finn headed to the midday service with a 1.4s lead over Ogier, who won Stage 4 after starting the day a position ahead of Lappi on the road order.

The pair surged to the head of the field after overnight leader Ott Tanak suffered turbo failure on the day’s opening El Chocolate stage, which resulted in the Estonian dropping outside of the top 20 after losing more than 12 minutes limping through the three stages.

Toyota’s Elfyn Evans successfully navigated the stages to end the loop in third, 12.5s adrift and 0.6s ahead of Hyundai’s Dani Sordo (+13.1s) with Thierry Neuville (+23.2s) fifth and Kalle Rovanpera (+29.2s) sixth.

M-Sport duo Pierre-Louis Loubet and Jourdan Serderdis retired on Stage 3 while Toyota’s Takamoto Katsuta crashed out on the morning’s final test.

The day started in a disastrous fashion for M-Sport as all three Ford Pumas hit trouble on the infamous 29.07km El Chocolate stage that opened the day.

Road sweeper Tanak already faced the disadvantage of sweeping the road before his car then suddenly lost power 15.8km into the test due to a turbo failure.

The Estonian pulled over to attempt to fix the problem but lost more than seven minutes in the process and was forced to let Rovanpera and Neuville through.

Moments later his team-mates Loubet and Serderidis ground to a halt. Loubet, contesting a first rally outside Europe, clouted a rock with the front right at tight right-hander that put him out on the spot.

Serderidis somehow lost control of his Puma and was left facing in the wrong direction which forced officials to red-flag the stage.

The stoppage came with only eight Rally1 cars completing the test, the fastest was Lappi, who managed to pip Ogier by 0.6s to move into the rally lead.

Sordo was third fastest on the stage ahead of Evans, Neuville and Rovanpera, the latter became the effective road sweeper after Tanak’s turbo problem.

Katsuta was fortunate to complete the test after complaining about smoke coming from inside his GR Yaris that hampered his visibility.

Ogier fought back on Stage 4 to claim his first fastest time of the event after pipping Lappi by 0.4s.

The pair were able to avoid a bump that almost caught out Rovanpera and Neuville. The pair were surprised by a compression that hadn’t been there when they passed through the stage in the recce earlier in…

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