Well, what a day! Where to start my round up of today’s six stages? Seb in his Fiesta was our leader all day, but there were different stage winners and the person leading to fight to the Frenchman changed as well.
Andreas Mikkelsen was the man who was closest at the start of the day, but after dropping behind Dani in stage three, he then retired in stage four with alternator failure. There was more pain for Thierry as well, who suffered another puncture in stage three.
The lead grew in stage four, but Ott Tanak was feeling at home in his new car, moving up the leaderboard and closing the gap to second placed Dani. Meantime, Craig was having a nightmare in his Citroen, with a stone breaking part of the caliper and meaning he’d suffer from brake failure and he was not enjoying that one bit. The good news though was that after stage five, the cars headed for service and the problem was fixed.
The afternoon loop began with the 26km and Ott took the fight to Seb, winning the stage and taking six and a half seconds out of erstwhile leader Seb’s lead. Craig was feeling a lot more comfortable now he had working brakes!
Elfyn Evans took the long stage seven when the heavens opened, but Seb lost 14 seconds to Ott and the lead was down to 19 seconds after a spin put the Fiesta into a ditch! Craig was increasingly comfortable, setting the fourth fastest time in the stage, whilst Dani, Esapekka and Jari-Matti continued their battle for third overall.
The final stage of the day fell to Thierry who after his puncture had been fighting back and closed the gap to Elfyn to just a little over three seconds.
Tomorrow sees the crews tackle five stages and a total of 117 km. One thing that could have a big impact to the standings is the snow that has been predicted all week. It will make tyre choices very hard!
Here’s the standings at the end of day two.
1 S. Ogier J. Ingrassia Ford Fiesta WRC 2:07:15.4
2 O. Tänak M. Järveoja Toyota Yaris WRC +14.9
3 D. Sordo C. del Barrio Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC +59.7
4 E. Lappi J. Ferm Toyota Yaris WRC +1:09.9
5 J. M. Latvala M. Anttila Toyota Yaris WRC +1:10.1
6 K. Meeke P. Nagle Citroën C3 WRC +2:45.5
7 B. Bouffier X. Panseri Ford Fiesta WRC +3:34.6
8 E. Evans D. Barritt Ford Fiesta WRC +4:01.7
9 T. Neuville N. Gilsoul Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC +4:04.1