Things got really interesting today. While the cars are in the service park now, let's take a look at what happened this morning.
Volkswagen started the day with a 3 way lead. It was Ogier, Mikkelsen and Latvala in front. They all were really fast, and everyone was looking forward to a team battle for the win. But then the unbelievable happened: Ogier crashed. While the damage to the car wasn't severe, he was stuck in snow heavily and lost over 4 minutes. That means he's out of contention for a great result.
From now on it was Latvala and Mikkelsen. The Youngster could hold the lead but then had a small moment that cost him around 5 seconds - enough to make Latvala pass him for first place. The gap between them is de facto non existent, so be prepared for a great battle.
Behind the dominant Polo's, Östberg improved his form and established himself in third place. Mikko Hirvonen, the Ford M-Sport lead driver, couldn't quite match him and is now in fourth. Ott Tänak, yesterdays surprise driver, spun and lost third place earlier, but is able to continue the rally.
Newcomer Hyundai lost a car again, and just like in Monte Carlo it was Thierry Neuville who was at fault. He hit a stone with a wheel and destroyed the suspension, rendering him unable to continue. Now Hänninen is the only driver for Hyundai left.
As for the rest, my personal favourite Kris Meeke battles with Pontus Tidemand for seventh place, and Robert Kubica hold P10. Take a look at the overall timing sheet for a detailed overview:
That was it for Stage 8-11, after the Midday Service there will be 5 other Stages for today. I am really looking forward to see Latvala and Mikkelsen battle for the lead and to Östberg/Hirvonen fighting for the last podium spot. In the meantime, enjoy a short video from yesterdays action, courtesy of Bestofrallylive:
[Picturecredit (in order): holtenmedia.no, McKlein, Rally-Magazin.de]