Rally Sweden: Day 1

mikkelsen-060214Andreas Mikkelsen led Rally Sweden after the solitary 1.9-kilometre Karlstadt superspecial stage on the opening day on Wednesday, 0.8 seconds quicker than teammate Sebastien Ogier.

The Norwegian, however, claimed to a “bit rusty” in the first couple of corners but that didn’t stop him from being the top Volkswagen driver.

Ott Tanak too was admittedly rusty as he had his last outing in the World Rally Championship in Spain two years ago. He was the quickest Ford driver in third, ahead of Jari-Matti Latvala.

“I’ve not driven one of these cars since 2012,” Tanak said. “But of course it’s a great feeling to be back… It will be difficult here with a new co-driver (Raigo Molder)… A top ten result would be good.”

mikkelsen-0602142Mikko Hirvonen was fourth followed by the Pirelli-shod Henning Solberg, who made his first appearance in WRC since the Swedish round last year.

Juho Hanninen was the quickest Hyundai in seventh ahead of the leading Citroen of Mads Ostberg. Thierry Neuville and Kris Meeke rounded up the top ten.

Robert Kubica was five seconds off the pace in 12th, behind Pontus Tidemand.

Martin Prokop was 14th, Elfyn Evans 17th, Craig Breen 21st and Khalid Al-Qassimi in 29th, 15.8 seconds adrift after he got a ten second penalty for jumping the start.

The rally resumes Thursday from Karlstad with six stages in Sweden and Norway covering just over 60 kilometres.

“Tomorrow starts the real stages,” Mikkelsen pointed out.

Leading positions after SS1:

Pos  Driver              Team/Car      Time/Gap
 1.  Andreas Mikkelsen   VW             1m33.4s
 2.  Sebastien Ogier     VW               +0.8s
 3.  Ott Tanak           M-Sport Ford     +2.2s
 4.  Jari-Matti Latvala  VW               +2.4s
 5.  Mikko Hirvonen      Citroen          +2.6s
 6.  Henning Solberg     Solberg Ford     +3.0s
 7.  Juho Hanninen       Hyundai          +3.2s
 8.  Mads Ostberg        Citroen          +3.2s
 9.  Thierry Neuville    Hyundai          +3.4s
10.  Kris Meeke          Citroen          +3.9s

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