A Volkswagen leads Rally Sweden, but it’s not Sebastien Ogier or Jari-Matti Latvala, it’s Andreas Mikkelsen who took the opening Karlstadt Super Special.
The Norwegian completed the 1.9km side-by-side test 0.8 seconds quicker than reigning world champion Ogier, who said he picked the poorer lane for grip at the start of his match-race with Robert Kubica (12 overall).
“I was a bit rusty with my driving for the first couple of corners because I haven’t tested in the snow since December. But I had a clean run and it’s a great way to start the rally,” said Mikkelsen.
Ogier was a further 0.6s quicker than Ott Tanak (Ford Fiesta RS). The Estonian, starting his first event since the 2012 Rally of Spain, prevented Jari-Matti Latvala making a VW clean sweep of the top three by just 0.2s.
M-Sport Fiesta driver Mikko Hirvonen was fifth fastest, while fellow Fiesta driver Henning Solberg, starting his first WRC event since last year’s Rally Sweden, rounded out the top six.
Hyundai drivers Juho Hanninen and Thierry Neuville sandwiched Citroen’s Mads Ostberg, who finished the stage eighth quickest in his DS3.
Ostberg’s Citroen team-mate Kris Meeke, who went off during yesterday’s shakedown stage, completed the top 10.
The rally resumes later today with six stages in Sweden and Norway covering 60.12km.
TIMES: Stage 1 Rally Sweden
|3||Ott Tanak||M-Sport Ford||+2.2s|
|6||Henning Solberg||Solberg Ford||+3.0s|