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SS11: Ogier back in the lead, Evans out!
20 June 2024

SS11: Ogier back in the lead, Evans out!

The duel between the two Sébastiens turned to the advantage of Ogier, who posted the best time in SS11 at noon, between Saint-Geniez and Thoard, while his teammate at Toyota, Elfyn Evans, made a mistake at the end of the special, on a dry road, on the sunny portion going downhill, after having perfectly negotiated the most tricky and very snowy part of this 20km-long stage. Stuck on the roadside, in reverse, after hitting the embankment on the right, the Welshman saw his hopes of a podium vanish. He was well ahead of his rivals, Ogier and Loeb included, at the top of Col de Fontbelle, after 14 km in this tricky stage.

Ogier got scared and almost took a big jump on the north side of the pass, coming out very wide from a right turn, while Loeb was more careful and conceded 5.4 seconds to his rival. Their closest pursuer in the general classification is now Craig Breen (Ford Puma), more than a minute away. Because of the off by Evans, the stage was then stopped, after Loeb and before Greensmith, to allow the Toyota of the vice-world champion, to be pushed back on the road.

“It’s never easy, with a mixed choice of tyres: two studded tires and two slicks,” said both Loeb and Ogier at the end, relieved to have come out of this complicated stage unscathed, before going to the tyre fitting zone set in Digne-les-Bains and starting to consider how best to manage the next loop: two second runs in Saint-Jeannet-Malijai (SS12) and Saint-Geniez-Thoard (SS13).

The first one completely dry and very bumpy, from start to finish. The second half snowy, even icy and very tricky, without lots of safety rails, and the other half ultra-dry, downhill and in full sun, to the small village of Thoard.

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