Salou: Sebastien Ogier’s hopes of securing a seventh straight world rally driver’s title and denying Ott Tanak his first were dealt a near-fatal blow in Catalonia on Friday.
The French rally ace’s Citroen suffered mechanical problems resulting in a loss of over three minutes after the Rally of Catalonia’s third stage.
Ogier trails championship leader Tanak by 28 points in the standings, with the Estonian only needing to outscore him by two points this weekend to dethrone the French rally king.
Ogier’s problems began in the second stage with power steering issues, compounded in the next by a malfunctioning gearbox.
It was only after the third stage that his mechanics could try to get his car back firing on all cylinders.
The Rally of Catalonia around Salou south of Barcelona is the 13th and penultimate leg of the season which concludes in Australia next month.
Tanak was taking a cautious approach to clinching his maiden title.