Second and final day at the Rally d’Italia Sardegna started at the first stage at a little past eight in the morning today. Mads Ostberg was the first to open the day’s action with the maximum penalties due to crash yesterday & to restart today, while Ogier was the last among the WRC cars.
SS9 Monte Olia 1 [19.27km], Mikko Hirvonen went fastest through the flying finish, boosting his confidence – perhaps a way too much [as he crashes early in the following stage, to retire]. Thierry Neuville was the second quickest, while the VW drivers started with a cautious opening with 3rd, 4th & 5th respectively.
SS10 Terranova 1 [14.82 km], Sebastien Ogier is the fastest, Neuville & Sordo follow quickly behind. It Mikko as he went off road and got stuck, no big damage to the car but couldn’t get back on road and hence retired of the rally.
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SS11 Monti di Ala 1 [22.25 km], is the stage that will be of utmost important to the drivers as this will be the power stage in the second run and again Ogier clocked the quickest. Neuville & Latvala are now above a minute behind in the overall scoreboard. Latvala now replaces Sordo in the overall third.
SS12 Coiluna – Loelle 1 [22.35 km], in the last stage before mid-day and final service, Latvala finished quickest. Ogier & Mikkelsen finished second and third, making it a 1-2-3 stage finish for Volkswagen. WRC class debutant Evans & Kosciuszko are on a healthy fight.
30 minutes Final Service
All went smooth at Service Park Olbia, Sardegna. Tyre strategy falls into place here onwards, as the limited tires are taking a toll on the dry & rough stage surfaces. The next set of stages will be on tire management to have the best ones for the power-stage to earn those vital bonus points for the championship.
SS13 Monte Olia 2 [19.27km], Latvala takes the stage win, and hopes his tires are well conserved for the important power-stage. Ogier takes a smart move and carefully finishes in 4th. Mikkelsen is just 0.2 seconds down & Neuville are in 2nd and 3rd.
SS14 Terranova 1 [14.82 km], Andreas Mikkelsen had an unfortunate off in a slow corner and broke a suspension and retires, making only 10 cars into the WRC fight. Ogier is fastest, Neuville & Latvala behind him.
SS15 Monti di Ala 2 [22.25 km] – Power Stage, as expected Sebastien Ogier won the Power Stage. Thierry Neuville & Jari-Matti Latvala took away the reminders.
SS16 Coiluna – Loelle 1 [22.35 km], Thierry Neuville takes a first – second place finish, his best in a WRC rally, by going second fastest through the final test. Latvala takes the final stage win, says “Speedwise I’ve taken a step forward. Happy with the car, it’s fantastic. Good feeling, the boys did a great job.”
Ogier finishes third quickest through the final stage, & right away climbs on to the roof at the end of the stage, to celebrate the 4th win this season for himself and to Volkswagen. A commendable job by Elfyn Evans to finish his debut WRC drive in 6th overall, just 0.9s ahead of Michal Kosciuszko.
Robert Kubica took the WRC2 victory in Citroen DS3 RRC with over four minutes to the second placed Abdul Aziz Al-Kuwari in a Ford M-Sport Fiesta RRC and Lorenzo Bertelli in third place.
Christian Riedemann took WRC3 win, Keith Cronin in second, and third by Stephane Consani all in Citroen DS3 R3T ‘.