The WRC has concluded day 1 in Australia and a bit of a surprise has taken shape at the top of the leader board. The surprises may be short lived because of road conditions, however there is clearly some tactical decision making going on amongst the title contenders.
Jari Matti Latvala has put the Ford Focus at the front of the rally after day 1 with a slim lead over Citroen Junior Team driver Sebastian Ogier. Ogier is off to the best start in his WRC career and is only 2.2 seconds off the back of Capt. Crash. Latvala dominated the all out gravel stages and gave nearly all of it back on the two super specials that closed out the first leg. Ogier made up over five seconds on the last portion with the memory of Poland no doubt eating at Latvala.
As far as the title contenders go, Loeb currently leads Hirvonen by 0.9 seconds. Sebastian (+22.7) is third overall with Citroen works teammate Danni Sordo right behind him. No doubt strategy is playing a part in this event as the dust is terrible. Sordo had originally slowed down for road positioning but then re-passed Mikko during the super special. Loeb has claimed to be pushing and doing the best he can but the pace is just off in the Citroen. I imagine that we will see some changes to the leader board during the next leg of the rally.
Pos Driver Car Time/Gap
1. Jari-Matti Latvala Ford 53m21.4s
2. Sebastien Ogier Citroen + 2.2s
3. Sebastien Loeb Citroen + 22.7s
4. Dani Sordo Citroen + 22.8s
5. Mikko Hirvonen Ford + 23.6s
6. Henning Solberg Ford + 51.3s
7. Matthew Wilson Ford +1m42.4s
8. Federico Villagra Ford +2m04.6s
9. Conrad Rautenbach Citroen +2m27.5s
10. Richard Mason Subaru +4m16.3s