Sebastien Ogier sets out his stall in speedy Welsh start
New World champion Sebastien Ogier made a charging start to the Wales Rally GB last night, setting fastest times on two of the first three stages to lead Ford's Thierry Neuville by three seconds.
Ogier's team-mate Jari Matto Latvala, last year's winner, was third, two seconds behind Neuville. Mikko Hirvonen was the leading Citroen driver in fourth place with Ford's Mads Ostberg fifth and the third VW of Andreas Mikkelsen in sixth.
Former F1 driver Robert Kubica, making his debut for the Citroen team, was seventh ahead of the R5 Ford Fiesta of young Welshman Elfyn Evans, the WRC2 leader. The leading Irish driver was Robert Barrable (Ford) in 13th, fifth in WRC3.
There was a bitter sweet start to the rally for Keith Cronin in his battle with Sebastien Chardonnet for the Citroen Top Driver award. Cronin, driving for the Belfast-based Charles Hurst team, hit trouble in stage two and was left 40 seconds behind leader Bryan Bouffier in WRC3.