WRC Rally Japan: Ogier takes early lead with SS1 stage win

WRC Japan: Ogier takes early lead with SS1 stage win

Sébastien Ogier is the early leader at Rally Japan after Thursday evening’s Karugaike Park super special stage.

Karugaike Park was the first stage in Japan at rallying’s top-level since 2010. The stage, which was driven in opposite direction compared to shakedown earlier on Thursday, was won by Toyota’s Sébastien Ogier. Ogier is driving with a new co-driver this weekend as Vincent Landais in the hotseat replacing Benjamin Veillas.

Craig Breen, who also has a new co-driver this weekend in James Fulton, set the second fastest time. The Irish crew was 0.1s slower than Ogier and a tenth faster than Ott Tänak.

Thierry Neuville shared the fastest time in shakedown with Elfyn Evans and was fourth fastest in SS1, 0.3s adrift of Ogier and 0.3s ahead of this year’s world champion Kalle Rovanperä.

Evans recorded the sixth time 1.2s from Ogier, followed by home-hero Takamoto Katsua in P7. Gus Greensmith and Dani Sordo set eighth and ninth times respectively, while P10 was shared by Emil Lindholm and his countryman Sami Pajari as the Skoda drivers set identical times.

The first full day of Rally Japan starts tomorrow with six stages against the clock, totalling 130.22 competitive kilometres. Friday is the longest day of the rally in terms of kilometres. SS2 (Isegami’s Tunnel) starts early at 07:02 local time (Thursday 23:02 CET, 22:02 BST).

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WRC Rally Japan 2022 – O/A standings after SS1

#DriversCarTime / Diff. to 1st
1.Ogier / LandaisToyota GR Yaris Rally12:07.0
2.Breen / FultonFord Puma Rally1+0.1
3.Tänak / JärveojaHyundai i20 N Rally1+0.2
4.Neuville / WydaegheHyundai i20 N Rally1+0.3
5.Rovanperä / HalttunenToyota GR Yaris Rally1+0.6
6.Evans / MartinToyota GR Yaris Rally1+1.2
7.Katsuta / JohnstonToyota GR Yaris Rally1+1.9
8.Greensmith / AnderssonFord Puma Rally1+2.2
9.Sordo / CarreraHyundai i20 N Rally1+3.1
10.Lindholm / HämäläinenSkoda Fabia Rally2 Evo+4.0
10.Pajari / MälkönenSkoda Fabia Rally2 Evo+4.0

Photo: Toyota Gazoo Racing