Ogier and Ingrassia lead in New Zealand
Rally New Zealand (6-9 May 2010) – Day 2

Sébastien Ogier and Julien Ingrassia had already experienced leading the Rally New Zealand during the first leg, but they spent the whole of the second day at the front of the overall classification. They will start the final day 5.3 seconds ahead of Sébastien Loeb and Daniel Elena, at the wheel of their Citroën C4 WRC.

The route on the second day of the Rally New Zealand took competitors to the south of Auckland. Sébastien Ogier and Julien Ingrassia had an early start from the service park at 0604 to head for New Franklin (SS10).

On dry roads, the Citroën Junior Team crew didn’t hesitate in overhauling Petter Solberg and Jari-Matti Latvala, who had started in front of them. By the end of the day’s opening stage, Sébastien Ogier had already claimed the overall lead. Having set fastest time on the all-asphalt Hampton Downs stage, Sébastien and Julien built up a cushion of 14.4 seconds by midday service.

“I really couldn’t have done any better,” said the Frenchman. “We pushed as hard as we could from start to finish. The first two stages went well, but then we lost a bit of time with road-sweeping on the third stage. I’m torn now between wanting to attack and playing it safe, in order to build up my knowledge of the stages and accumulate the maximum experience possible. This morning though, we obviously went for the first option!”

The second loop of stages presented a similar scenario to the first. While Sébastien Loeb made his way back up the leaderboard with a string of fastest times, the Citroën Junior Team driver stayed in front of everyone else to consolidate his first place.

“It’s been a really good day,” said Sébastien Ogier at final service. “Leading the field at the end of day two, on our first visit to New Zealand, is a more than satisfactory result. It’s important for us to get to the finish tomorrow in order to build up the maximum experience on this type of terrain. Our competitors know the final day’s stages well, and we will be first on the road. So this is a big challenge for us but we are going to keep on pushing as that will be the only way that we can defend our position!”

The final day of the Rally New Zealand consists of two loops of two stages including the epic Whaanga Coast test: often described as the most beautiful stage in the entire championship. The action is far from over with more than 80 competitive kilometres left to run over the final day.

Classification at the end of day two:
1. Ogier / Ingrassia Citroën C4 3:05’40’’4
2. Loeb / Elena Citroën C4 +5’’3
3. Latvala / Anttila Ford Focus +33’’2
4. Sordo / Marti Citroën C4 +47’’5
5. P. Solberg / Mills Citroën C4 +53’’6
6. Hirvonen / Lehtinen Ford Focus +1’00’’2
7. Wilson / Martin Ford Focus +3’04’’9
8. H. Solberg / Minor Ford Focus +5’46’’4
9. Ketomaa / Stenberg Ford Fiesta +8’17’’7
10. Villagra / Perez Companc Ford Focus +8’28’’8...

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