Ogier takes early lead in Catalonia

Sébastien Ogier leads the Rallye de Catanlunya. (AFP pic)

SALOU: Five-time world champion Sébastien Ogier was fast out of the blocks in the Rally de Catalunya, winning Thursday’s opening special ahead of Thierry Neuville who can wrap up the title in Barcelona.

Neuville leads Ogier by seven points in the world championship with Ott Tänak in third, 21 points adrift.

M-Sport Ford driver Ogier ended the short three-kilometre curtain raiser around the National Palace at Montjuic 3.7 seconds clear of Neuville, with Tänak at 4.2 seconds behind.

Former multiple champion Sébastien Loeb stalled during the stage. Loeb went on to finish 16 seconds off the leader in his last rally of the season.