Ogier leads from Latvala in Germany


Sebastien Ogier and Jari-Matti Latvala are split by just 1.9 seconds following the opening morning of Rally Germany. The Volkswagen team-mates proved a class apart on the first three stages, with times as much as 10s quicker than any of their rivals could manage. Reigning World Rally champion and early leader Ogier appeared to be edging clear of his team-mate as he outpaced Latvala by 1.7s on the day's second stage, Waxweiler. But on the following Moselland stage Latvala was able to strike back and trim two tenths from Ogier's advantage, keeping the gap at 1.8s as they head to midday service. VW briefly held a one-two-three with Andreas Mikkelsen in third, before a slight mistake by the Norwegian on Moselland, coupled with flying times from Kris Meeke and Dani Sordo, dropped him to fifth. Meeke made a poor start to a rally where Citroen has never been defeated in the WRC as he spun on SS1. He put that behind him to make rapid progress back through the field from eighth, although he is already 24s off the lead in third place. Sordo has also flown in the Hyundai. He is running way down the start order, with the day one list decided by championship positions and Sordo having retired on all three of his previous 2014 appearances. That means he is encountering the worst of the road conditions as cars ahead cut corners and pull mud onto the stage, but he was fourth quickest on both SS1 and SS3 to establish himself in the same position overall. Mads Ostberg, Mikko Hirvonen and Thierry Neuville's rebuilt Hyundai are just behind fifth-placed Mikkelsen in the order. Elfyn Evans, who was sixth on the first stage, and Bryan Bouffier (on his Hyundai WRC debut) complete the early top 10. Robert Kubica was eighth until he lost four minutes when he went off-course on Moselland and needed help from spectators to rejoin.