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World champion Sebastien Ogier of France lost control and drove his Volkswagen Polo into a snowdrift on Friday and appears to have lost all hope of winning a second successive Rally of Sweden.
Ogier, the overnight leader going into Friday's second day, is back in ninth place, more than three-and-a-half minutes adrift of leader Jari-Martii Latvala, his VW stablemate.
A third VW driver, Andreas Mikkelsen of Norway, was first to take advantage of Ogier's misfortune on the day's first special stage, but found himself overhauled by Latvala, who ended the day nearly five seconds clear.
Ogier quipped: "This weekend, it wasn't them (his fellow VW drivers) who beat me, I managed to put myself out of the running all by myself.
"That's what rallying is all about. I was fastest today, but I couldn't stop myself making such a stupic mistake."
Ogier won nine of the day's 16 special stages, but Latvala commented: "It's easier to go fast when you've lost all chance of winning, the pressure is a great deal less."
If things remain as they are, Latvala will take the lead in the world chmpionship standings come the end of the rally, the second leg of the champoionship, on Saturday afternoon.