The dream duel has been replaced by the ultimate one-man show â€“ Volkswagen duo SÃ©bastien Ogier/Julien Ingrassia (F/F) hold a commanding lead after day two of three at the Rally Great Britain. The back-to-back world champions* have paced themselves intelligently at the final round of the FIA World Rally Championship (WRC) since finding themselves roughly a minute clear of the rest of the field after their team-mates suffered an early set-back on the second morning. Determined to eat into Ogier/Ingrassiaâ€™s lead, Jari-Matti Latvala/Miikka Anttila (FIN/FIN) skidded off the road and consequently lost about three minutes. They dropped from second to tenth overall, but had fought back to eighth by the end of the day. With 46.12 kilometres of the Welsh classic to come on Sunday, Ogier/Ingrassia lead Mikko Hirvonen (M-Sport-Ford) and Kris Meeke (CitroÃ«n) by 58.1 seconds.
The dayâ€™s fastest pair was undoubtedly Andreas Mikkelsen/Ola FlÃ¸ene (N/N) in the third Polo R WRC. Returning to action under Rally2 regulations following Fridayâ€™s off, the Norwegian pair bounced back with five stage wins from a possible nine and were never outside the top two. As such, Volkswagen has now won 14 of the 17 special stages so far in Wales.
SÃ©bastien Ogier, Volkswagen Polo R WRC #1
â€œIt was like a totally new rally for Julien and me after the first stage of the day. Having seen that my team-mate Jari-Matti had come off the road, we stopped pushing so hard. Our goal is now to control our lead of just under a minute until we get to the finish and to set a record of twelve wins in one season with Volkswagen. Sure, we have a comfortable lead, but you can never be certain at the rally in Wales. The conditions are too difficult to take anything for granted. I feel sorry for the fans that the exciting duel with Jari-Matti did not last right through to Sunday.â€
Jari-Matti Latvala, Volkswagen Polo R WRC #2
â€œToday obviously did not go to plan. I wanted to continue pushing hard this morning, in order to stay in the hunt for victory. Unfortunately, however, I missed a braking point on the very first stage and skidded off the road. Iâ€™d like to say a big thank you to the fans who helped us out of the ditch, otherwise it would have been over for us. It was difficult to push the car to the limit without the rear wing, and I did not find it easy to get into a good rhythm. However, we found our form again at the end of the day. On Sunday I will try to remain positive and clock a few fastest times on the really slippery stages.â€
Andreas Mikkelsen, Volkswagen Polo R WRC #9
â€œI enjoyed day two of the Rally Great Britain more than the first, that is for sure. We won five stages today and did not finish outside the top two all day. The Polo was fantastic and the special stages were hugely enjoyable. It is a shame we slipped up yesterday â€“ who knows what we could have achieved here otherwise. Unfortunately we had a problem with the intercom today. Considering we struggled to hear each other all afternoon, it actually all worked out rather well in the end. Our priority for tomorrow is once again to memorise the special stages for next year, and to have some fun.â€