Ogier leads muddy Rally Italia Sardegna
Sebastien Ogier leads Rally Italia Sardegna after an uncharacteristic day at the Mediterranean event which saw heavy rain turn the Sardinia roads to mud.
Ogier and Thierry Neuville both held early starting berths on the road owing to their lofty championship positions, which would typically see the duo lose time as they swept the road for following cars.
However, heavy rain provided the duo with an early advantage and despite a slow start which saw him trail Andreas Mikkelsen after the opening five stages of the rally, Ogier ended the day with an 18.9 second advantage over Neuville.
Early leader Mikkelsen, who held a 14 second advantage over Neuville in second after the first five stages, succumbed to a gearbox problem.
Ott Tanak was also a victim of the day’s stages, a heavy landing forcing the Toyota driver out of the rally while sitting in a podium position.
That promoted Jari Matti-Latvala, who sits 37.2s adrift of rally leader Ogier after nine stages.
Ogier moved into the lead on stage six while Neuville lost his rear spoiler and had a half spin in his pursuit of the Frenchman in the latter part of the day.
Seven stages follow on Saturday, a total of more than 146 kilometres of competitive rallying which will see teams take on the opening three stages of the day twice.
Rally Italia Sardegna: After Special Stage 9 (Top 10)
|1||1||Sebastien Ogier||FRA||M-Sport Ford WRT||Fiesta WRC||1:35:56.9|
|2||5||Thierry Neuville||BEL||Hyundai WRT||i20 WRC||+18.9|
|3||7||Jari-Matti Latvala||FIN||Toyota Gazoo Racing||Yaris WRC||+37.2|
|4||9||Esapekka Lappi||FIN||Toyota Gazoo Racing||Yaris WRC||+41.6|
|5||12||Mads Ostberg||NOR||Citroen WRT||C3 WRC||+58.3|
|6||6||Hayden Paddon||NZL||Hyundai WRT||i20 WRC||+1:01.5|
|7||11||Craig Breen||IRL||Citroen WRT||C3 WRC||+1:26.0|
|8||38||Stephane Lefebvre||FRA||Citroen WRT||C3 R5||+4:02.9|
|9||31||Jan Kopecky||CZE||Skoda Motorsport II||Fabia R5||+4:16.9|
|10||39||Nicolas Ciamin||FRA||i20 R5||+5:20.7|