Dani Sordo delivered a flawless drive to lead Rally Italia Sardegna on Friday night following a six-month lay-off.
More reductions continued wrenches and turns, and easygoing gravel supplied a challenge for crews.
M-Sport Ford man Teemu Suninen was second in his Ford Fiesta, followed by title challenger Thierry Neuville, a further 17.8s behind in another i20.As the times rolled in, After six stages in northern Sardinia, it was clear the Spaniard’s decision had paid off as he claimed four stage wins.
I am happy to come back like this. and we had a better one today but in the same period. We pushed hard and made time with good tire choices,” said the rally leader.
We always say that road position is crucial. On Rally Italy, heading Hyundai team-mate, Sordo proclaimed his third World Rally Championship success and, we always declare that route position is crucial.
Thierry Neuville after the Belgian pipped Sébastien Ogier to second place on the power stage.
Sordo’s winning margin was a narrow 5.1 seconds, with the top three splits by a mere 6.1s. Ogier by just 1s having started the rally-ending SS6 1.7s behind.
It replaces 2011 Rally Argentina as the closest podium finish in WRC history.
Suninen was unable to keep pace and dropped down to fifth place on Saturday night with road conditions more equal for the leading runners. He failed to handbrake the costing him time, particularly after an overshoot.
Sordo was still on it. However, The battling Ogier and Neuville had the legs on him, but their yo-young changing of position enabled Sordo to increase his gap at the head of the field to 27.4s – despite taking just one stage win across the day.
After that advantage would be significantly at the start of Sunday.
Neuville slid wide on approach to a bridge on Saturday final test was still on it. The battling Ogier and Neuville had the legs on him, but their yo-young changing of position enabled Sordo to increase his gap at the head of the field to 27.4s – despite taking just one stage win across the day.
“It’s amazing. I’m not happy with my performance today. In the end, we managed a brilliant rally so, I’m happy,” Sordo said.
After he finished fourth, he took two power stage points. Neuville is up to third in the standing.
Elfyn Evans still leads.
the WRC standings but has had his 18 point gap cut by four to 14 points On Friday’s opening loop of four stages with a suspension issue.
Behind Suninen and Tänak, Pierre-Louis Loubet netted his best WRC finish to date with seventh spot, and his first-ever finish in a Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC after late retirements in both Turkey and Estonia.
His event was not without mishap, however, with a few wild moments rearranging the rear of his 2C Competition Hyundai.
Evans headed to Sardinia as a potential world champion in waiting, with constant questions directed his way about probable championship titles. But that talk was soon diminished, on Friday with the confirmation that Monza would be added to the 2020 schedule, making it mathematically impossible for Evans to seal the title in Italy.
Third place in fourth;
banking yet more vital championship points but perhaps knowing. He is going to have to beat Ogier on pace if he wants the 2020 title.
The Toyota star had an anonymous rally, shadowing Ogier throughout Friday but unable to keep up with him and Neuville once road conditions leveled out on Saturday.
He wound up just under a minute behind By choice and after the Belgian pipped Sébastien Ogier to second place on the power stage replaces 2011 Rally Argentina as the closest podium finish in WRC history.
Elfyn Evans still leads the WRC standings but has had his 18 point gap cut by four to 14 points after he finished fourth and took two power stage points. Neuville is up to third in the standings, eight points behind Ogier.
Ott Tänak could only manage sixth place after losing close to two minutes will become the sole tire supplier for Rally1 in the WRC next year but was also a chance for Solberg to try the latest generation of Rally1 car for the first time.