WRC 13 Rally Sardinia Jun20-23 talk/results spoiler**
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This is a discussion on WRC 13 Rally Sardinia Jun20-23 talk/results spoiler** within the Motorsports Talk forums, part of the Community - Meet other Enthusiasts category; Rnd 7 WRC Italia Sardinia Jun20-23 Sardinia has hosted Italy’s FIA World Rally Championship counter since its switch from the ...

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    Cool WRC 13 Rally Sardinia Jun20-23 talk/results spoiler**

    Rnd 7 WRC Italia Sardinia Jun20-23



    Sardinia has hosted Italy’s FIA World Rally Championship counter since its switch from the mainland in 2004 and the event remains one of the most demanding on the calendar.

    Although the island’s stages are predominantly fast and narrow, the terrain is a mixture of flat open areas and undulating tracks through woodland with water splashes and spectacular jumps thrown in for good measure. Ordinarily the surface is hard with rock-strewn sections commonplace, while ruts will often form after the first pass.

    Official Website: rallyitaliasardegna.com/

    Listen Live: wrc.com/fanzone/wrc-live/

    Last edited by Weasel 555; 06-23-2013 at 05:30 AM.
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    Jari-Matti Latvala has made the best possible start to Rally Italia Sardegna by going fastest on the Qualifying Stage near Olbia this morning.

    It means the Finn, at the wheel of a Volkswagen Polo R, will have first choice of road position for the opening day of the FIA World Rally Championship qualifier.

    With the forecast dry and hot weather, Latvala - who took 3m12.655s to complete the 3.86-kilometre stage – is likely to choose to run as far down Friday’s running order as possible to avoid sweeping the stages of loose-surface gravel.

    Latvala, who won the Acropolis Rally earlier this month, gave a huge grin when he was shown his time at the end of the stage. “After the Qualifying Stage in in Greece where I made a mistake I had to do better here - and I did,” he told wrc.com. “It felt good and that puts me in the best position to choose where I want to start.”

    Volkswagen team boss Jost Capito was at the stage end to offer his congratulations. “I came here to see whether his performance was the same as it had been in Greece. I’m so pleased to see that it is. His driving was outstanding and it has given him the widest choice of start positions.”

    Evgeny Novikov was second quickest, 0.690s down on Latvala’s time in his Qatar M-Sport Ford Fiesta RS. “I tried to win but second fastest is okay for me,” said the Russian. “I’m happy with at that. It’s very good to have such a choice for tomorrow.”

    Latvala’s team-mate Sebastien Ogier posted the third fastest time, 1.571s down on the Finn, who won in Sardinia back in 2009. “Not so bad, it was quite a good drive,” said Ogier. “I could have been a bit faster but it was rough and narrow and it would have been really easy to take a wheel off in there.”

    Mikko Hirvonen was disappointed to have set the fourth quickest time in his Citroen DS3 WRC, 1.742s slower than Latvala. “I hit a rock midway through. The time isn’t bad but it’s not good enough,” he said.

    Ford Fiesta RS pilot Thierry Neuville rounded off the top-five times. “I’m not so happy with that,” he said. “I don’t have enough traction under braking, but I can’t change that now. Also I was too careful in places where I should have been faster.

    Latvala and his World Rally Car rivals will select their starting positions at rally headquarters in Olbia from 1300hrs local time.

    Here are the full Qualifying Stage times:

    Jari-Matti Latvala: 3m12.655s

    Evgeny Novikov: +0.690

    Sebastien Ogier: +1.571

    Mikko Hirvonen: +1.742

    Thierry Neuville: +1.847

    Mads Ostberg: +2.366

    Dani Sordo: +2.741

    Andreas Mikkelsen: +3.779

    Martin Prokop: +4.997

    Per-Gunnar Andersson: +6.922

    Elfyn Evans: +10.689

    Michal Kosciuszko: +12.380

    Khalid Al-Qassimi: +14.817

    click: wrc.com/news/sardinia-qualifying/

    ----------------------------

    Jari-Matti Latvala has opted to start tomorrow's opening leg of Rally Italia Sardegna at the bottom of the top priority drivers.

    The Finn was fastest in qualifying earlier today in his Volkswagen Polo R, earning the right to choose his start position first. Unsurprisingly, he chose 13th and last of the leading drivers, to try to make the best of improved conditions lower down the order.

    Khalid Al Qassimi, who was slowest in qualifying, will have the unenviable task of starting first, sweeping slippery gravel from the road surface to leave an increasingly cleaner and faster line for those behind.

    “It’s mid-summer, the skies are clear and the temperature is 30°C so it means you want to start as far back as possible because in Sardinia the cleaning effect is quite big,” said Latvala.

    “We saw in free practice how much the stage times improved as more cars went through, so for me it was clear that to start far back in position 13 was the best option.

    “It’s a good feeling to start well. It was great to win my first WRC rally with Volkswagen in Greece but that’s history now. We have a good start position, but Friday will be hard. It’s a long day in hot conditions,” he added.

    Just ahead of Latvala will be Evgeny Novikov, the Russian setting second fastest time in qualifying in his Ford Fiesta RS WRC. Sebastien Ogier, team-mate to Latvala at Volkswagen, will be ahead of Novikov.

    There were no surprises in the selection, every driver selecting the lowest available position.

    The full start order is:

    1. Khalid Al-Qassimi
    2. Michal Kosciuszko
    3. Elfyn Evans
    4. Per-Gunnar Andersson
    5. Martin Prokop
    6. Andreas Mikkelsen
    7. Dani Sordo
    8. Mads Ostberg
    9. Thierry Neuville
    10 Mikko Hirvonen
    11 Sebastien Ogier
    12 Evgeny Novikov
    13 Jari-Matti Latvala

    click: wrc.com/news/start order

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    Friday
    SS1: Early blow for Latvala




    After winning yesterday’s qualifying stage, Jari-Matti Latvala suffered a disastrous start when he dropped almost two minutes after puncturing the front left tyre on his Volkswagen Polo R just 8km into the test.

    Latvala, winner in Greece last time out, was second fastest at the second split point after 7.20km and only a second behind team-mate Sebastien Ogier. But the Finn struggled through the rest of the test, completing 1min 56.4sec off the pace in 12th and arriving at the stop control with the tyre completely shredded.

    "I don't know exactly where it happened, but suddenly it just felt like a tyre was flat under braking," he said. "I don't have a clear idea of what happened, at first I thought it was the right tyre because I knew I had hit a stone.

    Asked if he through this spelled disaster for his rally, Latvala said: "Well, It doesn't look good, but let's keep going and let's see what happens in this rally."

    Ogier was fastest by 5.3sec from the Citroen DS3 of Mikko Hirvonen, despite both drivers damaging the rear spoiler on their cars after swiping a low branch.

    Evgeny Novikov, second in qualifying yesterday, was third in his Fiesta RS with Mads Ostberg, Dani Sordo and Thierry Neuville rounding off the top six.

    Andreas Mikkelsen was another to hit the overhanging branch but the Polo R driver still took seventh.

    P-G Andersson, driving a Fiesta RS on his maiden outing this season, dropped a minute with a rear right puncture shortly before the finish.

    He inadvertently delayed the following Martin Prokop, the Czech driver admitting: “We were quite close to P-G but it was impossible to catch him in the dust.”

    click: wrc.com/news/sardinia ss1



    ------------------------------

    SS2: Novikov rolls out of third

    In third place after the opening stage, Evgeny Novikov rolled out of today’s competition on the second.

    The young Russian put his Fiesta RS off the road in the opening kilometre of the notoriously tricky Castelsardo test. Both he and his co-driver Ilka Minor are okay.

    The stage was won by Volkwsagen’s Jari-Matti Latvala, who rolled himself here in 2012.

    “My time was quite good but it was very slippery,“ he said. “I was distracted early on because somebody [Novikov] had gone off but there was no warning triangle. I nearly hit the car. But basically everything is okay. It’s a shame about the puncture earlier but we just have to accept that.”

    Second fastest in his Polo R, rally leader Sebastien Ogier echoed his team-mate’s opinion on the road conditions: “Very slippery and a lot of loose gravel - for sure it would have been worse for the guys ahead. For us okay, it was a good drive.”

    Sure enough, the slippery conditions had caused plenty of problems for the drivers further up the start order.

    Dani Sordo was third fastest but spun his Citroen DS3 WRC immediately after the flying finish. “It was okay though, no problems,” the Spaniard reported. “I wasn’t here last year so it’s my first time on this stage.”

    Volkswagen’s Andreas Mikkelsen completed with his car sporting a front wheel knocked out of alignment. “Not too easy, we have some problem with the steering,” he said. “I don’t know what it is, but under braking we had a small hit on the left. The car is moving around a bit.”

    World Rally Car newcomer Elfyn Evans had a lucky escape when he hit a rock mid-stage. The Welshman’s Ford Fiesta RS reached the stop control with a bent right-hand front wheel rim but the tyre intact.

    Martin Prokop said he was surprised to complete the stage at all after wedging his Fiesta RS between two walls. “We hit with one side of the car, then the other and finally with the front,” he explained. “In the end we were completely stuck between two walls. It was a massive impact but still the wheels are straight and the engine temperature is okay…”

    click: wrc.com/news/sardinia ss2



    ------------------------------

    SS3: Ogier claims second stage win



    Sebastien Ogier headed to the short remote service zone in Sassari with a 20.5sec lead in his Volkswagen Polo R after winning his second stage of the loop.

    The Frenchman was three-tenths of a second quicker than team-mate Jari-Matti Latvala and cut a relaxed figure at the finish as he recalled memories of winning the same stage in 2012 in a Skoda Fabia S2000.

    “Last year here was one of the good points of the year when I did best time. I wasn’t so aggressive this year, especially in the downhill where there were a lot of barriers that I didn’t want to hit,” said Ogier, who added that there were still a few small modifications he would like to make to his Polo R.

    Latvala has recovered to seventh after his first stage puncture, the Finn sounding upbeat. “The feeling is good and the car is going really well. It’s a shame about the puncture but we have to move forward,” he told WRC Live.

    Mads Ostberg was third in a Fiesta RS, 5.3sec behind Ogier, with Mikko Hirvonen’s Citroen DS3 less than a second adrift. The two are separated by 4.5sec in the overall standings, with Hirvonen holding the advantage in second place.

    “Maybe I was a bit too cautious this morning. I held back a bit too much,” admitted Ostberg, whose Michelin tyres looked in surprisingly good condition after such a tough group of stages.

    In contrast, Hirvonen said he had been flat out all morning. “Ogier is really fast. I feel that I have to push so hard that I start to make mistakes and don’t get the good times,” he said.

    Dani Sordo claimed fifth fastest ahead of Thierry Neuville, who had to throw his Fiesta RS into a spin early in the test to avoid hitting a wall. Sordo is fourth overall, his Citroen DS3 8.1sec clear of Neuville, with Andreas Mikkelsen completing the top six.

    click: wrc.com/news/sardinia ss3




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    SS1: Early blow for Latvala




    After winning yesterday’s qualifying stage, Jari-Matti Latvala suffered a disastrous start when he dropped almost two minutes after puncturing the front left tyre on his Volkswagen Polo R just 8km into the test.

    Latvala, winner in Greece last time out, was second fastest at the second split point after 7.20km and only a second behind team-mate Sebastien Ogier. But the Finn struggled through the rest of the test, completing 1min 56.4sec off the pace in 12th and arriving at the stop control with the tyre completely shredded.

    "I don't know exactly where it happened, but suddenly it just felt like a tyre was flat under braking," he said. "I don't have a clear idea of what happened, at first I thought it was the right tyre because I knew I had hit a stone.

    Asked if he through this spelled disaster for his rally, Latvala said: "Well, It doesn't look good, but let's keep going and let's see what happens in this rally."

    Ogier was fastest by 5.3sec from the Citroen DS3 of Mikko Hirvonen, despite both drivers damaging the rear spoiler on their cars after swiping a low branch.

    Evgeny Novikov, second in qualifying yesterday, was third in his Fiesta RS with Mads Ostberg, Dani Sordo and Thierry Neuville rounding off the top six.

    Andreas Mikkelsen was another to hit the overhanging branch but the Polo R driver still took seventh.

    P-G Andersson, driving a Fiesta RS on his maiden outing this season, dropped a minute with a rear right puncture shortly before the finish.

    He inadvertently delayed the following Martin Prokop, the Czech driver admitting: “We were quite close to P-G but it was impossible to catch him in the dust.”

    click: wrc.com/news/sardinia ss1



    ------------------------------

    SS2: Novikov rolls out of third

    In third place after the opening stage, Evgeny Novikov rolled out of today’s competition on the second.

    The young Russian put his Fiesta RS off the road in the opening kilometre of the notoriously tricky Castelsardo test. Both he and his co-driver Ilka Minor are okay.

    The stage was won by Volkwsagen’s Jari-Matti Latvala, who rolled himself here in 2012.

    “My time was quite good but it was very slippery,“ he said. “I was distracted early on because somebody [Novikov] had gone off but there was no warning triangle. I nearly hit the car. But basically everything is okay. It’s a shame about the puncture earlier but we just have to accept that.”

    Second fastest in his Polo R, rally leader Sebastien Ogier echoed his team-mate’s opinion on the road conditions: “Very slippery and a lot of loose gravel - for sure it would have been worse for the guys ahead. For us okay, it was a good drive.”

    Sure enough, the slippery conditions had caused plenty of problems for the drivers further up the start order.

    Dani Sordo was third fastest but spun his Citroen DS3 WRC immediately after the flying finish. “It was okay though, no problems,” the Spaniard reported. “I wasn’t here last year so it’s my first time on this stage.”

    Volkswagen’s Andreas Mikkelsen completed with his car sporting a front wheel knocked out of alignment. “Not too easy, we have some problem with the steering,” he said. “I don’t know what it is, but under braking we had a small hit on the left. The car is moving around a bit.”

    World Rally Car newcomer Elfyn Evans had a lucky escape when he hit a rock mid-stage. The Welshman’s Ford Fiesta RS reached the stop control with a bent right-hand front wheel rim but the tyre intact.

    Martin Prokop said he was surprised to complete the stage at all after wedging his Fiesta RS between two walls. “We hit with one side of the car, then the other and finally with the front,” he explained. “In the end we were completely stuck between two walls. It was a massive impact but still the wheels are straight and the engine temperature is okay…”

    click: wrc.com/news/sardinia ss2



    ------------------------------

    SS3: Ogier claims second stage win



    Sebastien Ogier headed to the short remote service zone in Sassari with a 20.5sec lead in his Volkswagen Polo R after winning his second stage of the loop.

    The Frenchman was three-tenths of a second quicker than team-mate Jari-Matti Latvala and cut a relaxed figure at the finish as he recalled memories of winning the same stage in 2012 in a Skoda Fabia S2000.

    “Last year here was one of the good points of the year when I did best time. I wasn’t so aggressive this year, especially in the downhill where there were a lot of barriers that I didn’t want to hit,” said Ogier, who added that there were still a few small modifications he would like to make to his Polo R.

    Latvala has recovered to seventh after his first stage puncture, the Finn sounding upbeat. “The feeling is good and the car is going really well. It’s a shame about the puncture but we have to move forward,” he told WRC Live.

    Mads Ostberg was third in a Fiesta RS, 5.3sec behind Ogier, with Mikko Hirvonen’s Citroen DS3 less than a second adrift. The two are separated by 4.5sec in the overall standings, with Hirvonen holding the advantage in second place.

    “Maybe I was a bit too cautious this morning. I held back a bit too much,” admitted Ostberg, whose Michelin tyres looked in surprisingly good condition after such a tough group of stages.

    In contrast, Hirvonen said he had been flat out all morning. “Ogier is really fast. I feel that I have to push so hard that I start to make mistakes and don’t get the good times,” he said.

    Dani Sordo claimed fifth fastest ahead of Thierry Neuville, who had to throw his Fiesta RS into a spin early in the test to avoid hitting a wall. Sordo is fourth overall, his Citroen DS3 8.1sec clear of Neuville, with Andreas Mikkelsen completing the top six.

    click: wrc.com/news/sardinia ss3




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    WRC news in brief: Sassari service

    Here's a selection of snippets from the 15-minute remote service after SS3

    The steering problem with Andreas Mikkelsen’s Polo R was traced to a broken ball-joint in the front suspension. Mikkelsen had a spare on board and has swapped it. Should be sorted now.

    Jari-Matti Latvala on his stage one puncture. “Unfortunately sometimes it’s just the name of the game. I hit some stones but didn’t feel an impact especially. I think perhaps a stone hit the shoulder of the tyre, that’s the weakest point.”

    Robert Kubica's Citroen DS3 RRC is sporting rear-end damage. “It happened on SS3,” said the Pole. “I lost the rear on the approach to a corner, braking towards a bridge, I pulled the handbrake and we touched a hay bale with the rear. The car is okay.”

    Per-Gunnar Andersson on his SS1 puncture: “It was my mistake. I went wide and hit a rock. I only had one spare tyre so I had to take it easy from there.”

    click: wrc.com/news/wrc-news-in-brief-sassari-service/

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    SS4: Neuville the pacesetter



    Fresh from a remote service in Sassari, fifth-placed Thierry Neuville was the pacesetter on the repeated Castelsardo test.

    The Belgian, who drives a Ford Fiesta RS, narrowed the gap to fourth-placed Dani Sordo to just 2.6 seconds.

    “The car felt much better after we made some adjustments to the brakes,” said Neuville. “They have much more bite now, and I was able to settle into a comfortable driving rhythm.”

    With most of the loose gravel swept away on the earlier pass, the repeat offered all the drivers much more grip, but the hard-packed abrasive road surface had the potential to quickly destroy tyres.

    Rally leader Sebastien Ogier was second fastest through, and one of many drivers to adopt a tyre saving approach. “It will be a long afternoon so we had to think about them,” said the Polo R driver. “We stayed in the middle of the road for most of the stage.”

    “It’s tricky,” said Citroen’s Mikko Hirvonen, who was third fastest, “We were driving carefully to save the tyres but when we got the split times it’s hard not to start pushing them harder again.”

    Sixth fastest in his Fiesta RS, Mads Ostberg told a similar story. “We took it steady because there was such high grip. So, maybe not our best stage time, but we want to have tyres left for the next ones.”

    Jari-Matti Latvala, however, said a scare early in the stage had knocked his confidence: “We had a really hard impact on our right-hand front corner – I think it was a hole in the road. I really thought we had broken something like the wheel or the brakes but it seemed okay. It took me a while to build up the speed again.”

    His Polo R back to full strength after a new suspension joint was fitted in service, Andreas Mikkelsen was seventh fastest. “Now everything is perfect. The car is nice to drive again. A good stage, clean, no mistakes,” he said.

    Meanwhile Per-Gunnar Andersson was concerned that his 2013 debut in a World Rally Car could be almost over. “There’s something wrong, I think it’s a driveshaft,” he said. “I could feel it pulling a lot in the last few kilometres. We’ll have a look now and see what we can do.”

    click: wrc.com/news/sardinia ss4



    -----------------------------

    SS5: Two in a row for Thierry



    Thierry Neuville’s second consecutive fastest time promoted him into fourth place, moving within striking distance of Mikko Hirvonen and Mads Ostberg ahead.

    The young Belgian enjoyed the extra grip provided by the cleaner afternoon roads and was fastest by two-tenths of a second in his Ford Fiesta RS from leader Sebastien Ogier.

    Neuville’s efforts moved him ahead of Dani Sordo and he is now just seven seconds behind second-placed Hirvonen and five seconds adrift of Ostberg in third.

    “I feel very comfortable, especially when the grip is high and I know I can go fast without mistakes,” he said. “When the grip isn’t so good, I don’t feel so confident. The engineers have done a good job with the settings and it feels like driving on a circuit.”

    Ogier took a close look at his Polo R at the stage finish as steam was emerging from the car, but the Frenchman did not appear concerned. “I tried to drive cleanly to look after my tyres and I think we will be OK to finish the day,” he said.

    With the longest stage of the rally next up, drivers were again focused on preserving their tyres, happy to sacrifice a few seconds to ensure their rubber remained in good condition.

    “I tried to save the tyres for the long one but I’m still quite pleased with my time,” said third fastest Jari-Matti Latvala. The Volkswagen driver was 1.4sec behind Neuville, and 4.3sec clear of Mads Ostberg, who was a little confused by the tyre changing strategy of some of his rivals.

    “It seems like the others are running a different strategy but we will see if it pays off on the long one,” he said.

    Dani Sordo was fifth in his Citroen DS3, slipping five seconds behind Neuville in the standings. Andreas Mikkelsen rounded off the top six, the Norwegian admitting his front tyres were badly worn and cost him time during the final kilometres.

    P-G Andersson limped through with continuing driveshaft problems in his Fiesta RS. The Swede dropped 1min 16sec, but was hopeful of getting the car through the long Monte Lerno test. “It’s the left rear driveshaft. I tightened the differential so it’s pulling and I think we’ll make it,” he explained.

    click: wrc.com/news/sardinia ss5



    ------------------------------

    After SS6: Ogier leads while Neuville flies



    Volkswagen's Sebastien Ogier leads Rally Italia Sardegna with six of Friday's eight stages completed.

    Returning to Olbia for the first proper service of the day, the Frenchman has a 42.4sec cushion over Citroen pilot Mikko Hirvonen.

    Ogier took the lead in his Polo R on the rally’s opening stage, and enjoyed a trouble-free run in slippery conditions that caused problems for many of his rivals.

    In dry, hot conditions, and on abrasive gravel roads, tyre conservation has been crucial to success so far, and Ogier’s ability to look after his Michelins better than anybody else has stood him in good stead.

    “We have done a good drive so far, and for sure the tyres today have made a big difference,” he said after clearing SS6. “When it’s warm like this I try to be very progressive with the steering, but it’s nothing too special, it’s just my natural driving style.”

    Completing SS6 with his Citroen’s front tyres scrubbed almost down to the canvas, a frustrated Hirvonen was in no doubt about what was holding him back.

    “I don’t know what more I can do. The car feels perfect, but I can’t keep my front tyres,” he said. “They’re always destroyed at the end of the stage. That’s the only thing that’s slowing us down.”

    Less than five seconds behind Hirvonen is Thierry Neuville, who has proved to be the surprise of the rally so far. Like Ogier, Neuville has held onto his tyres better than most and with the exception of a near miss with a wall on SS3 he has enjoyed a near perfect run in his Ford Fiesta RS.

    “It’s going pretty well,” he acknowledged, “I think the tyre issue is the same for everybody, I just took it carefully in some places. I also had some rice with chilli sauce for lunch, and that seems to have helped.”

    With another two stages remaining in Friday’s marathon itinerary, Mads Ostberg is close to the leaders in fourth, just 7.2sec behind Neuville. After SS6, however, the Norwegian was less than happy with his similar Fiesta RS. “I’m struggling with the car. It’s oversteering, absolutely sideways everywhere. It’s hard to be efficient at the wheel like this. I had a small spin too.”

    An on-form Dani Sordo is fifth, 6.1sec behind Ostberg in his Citroen DS3.

    Volkswagen’s Andreas Mikkelsen is sixth, 27.4sec further back, after losing time when he broke a suspension joint on SS2.

    Qualifying stage winner Jari-Matti Latvala is seventh, two minutes off the lead after a puncture on the opening stage cost him any realistic chance of victory this weekend.

    Martin Prokop is eighth, with Michal Kosciuszko ninth on his first day in anoher Fiesta RS.

    Also getting used to a new Fiesta RS – and a co-driver - Welsh youngster Elvyn Evans rounds off the top-ten, just 7sec behind Kosciusko.

    WRC-2

    Robert Kubica has won five of the six stages to build a comfortable lead in the WRC-2 category. The Pole's only problem was on stage 3 when he damaged the rear of his Citroen DS3 RRC after clipping a hay bale.

    Kubica is 1min 48.5sec ahead of Sepp Wiegand's Skoda Fabia S2000, with Ukraine's Yuriy Protasov third having lost the position to Wiegand on SS6. Just 6.3sec separate the duo.

    WRC-3

    In the WRC 3 category, Christian Riedemann has led since the second stage and arrived in service 16.2sec ahead of category debutant Stephane Consani.

    Bryan Bouffier led initially but retired in the second stage after damaging the front of his car. Quentin Gilbert lies third. Keith Cronin has won three stages after puncturing in the opening test, while series leader Sebastien Chardonnet has topped the time sheets twice after also puncturing. All are at the wheel of Citroen DS3 R3T cars.

    click: wrc.com/news/after-ss6




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    SS7: Latvala on fifth-place fightback



    Jari-Matti Latvala was in a class of his own on the 13 kilometre Gallura stage, and believes he can salvage a fifth place finish from Rally Italia Sardegna, despite losing two minutes earlier today with a puncture.

    The Finn, who lies seventh, brought his Volkswagen Polo R through the test 10.9sec faster than his team-mate, rally leader Sebastien Ogier, and confirmed that he now had Dani Sordo’s fifth place in his sights.

    “I drove this stage back in 2003 and I absolutely love it,” said Latvala. “If it was up to me I’d have many more stages like this in this rally. Okay, now I think we can try for fifth place. We’ll try to fight for that.”

    Ogier, meanwhile, was one of many drivers to adopt a careful approach on the test’s numerous crests and dips, especially as the setting sun and dust clouds from the cars ahead made visibility less than ideal.

    “I had no big concerns, but the road was much rougher than the others, so I was safe,” he said. “There was quite a lot of dust around, and I hope that won’t be a problem later when we’re back here in the dark.”

    Citroen driver Mikko Hirvonen was third quickest, and extended the gap to the chasing Thierry Neuville slightly to 6.2sec. “That was okay. We have a good fight now with Mads [Ostberg] and Thierry. I’m looking forward to tomorrow."

    Ostberg was less than half a second slower than Hirvonen and feeling positive after set-up tweaks to his Fiesta RS in service. “We fitted softer rear springs and the car feels much better,” said the Norwegian. “Okay, my driving wasn’t the best in the first half of that stage, but we started to push more in the second.”

    Neuville was fifth fastest, and another driver to favour a cautious approach to Friday’s penultimate stage. “It was quite okay but I took care of the car because it’s quite rough. Dust was a problem and I’m sure it will be in the dark too,” he said.

    click: wrc.com/news/sardinia ss7



    -----------------------------

    Ogier clear after first day in Italy



    Sebastien Ogier ended today's marathon opening leg of Rally Italia Sardegna with a 46.6sec advantage after a troublefree day on the sun-kissed Mediterranean island.

    The Volkswagen Polo R driver led after the opening stage and was already 20 seconds clear after the opening loop. He won two more stages and there was no disguising the Frenchman’s ambitions as he emerged from the final night test.

    “I came here with the motivation to win because it’s two rallies since I had a win and I want that feeling again. But only half the rally has gone so we have to make sure we complete the job tomorrow,” said Ogier.

    The fight for second was closer. Mikko Hirvonen, Mads Ostberg, Thierry Neuville and Dani Sordo were covered by 20sec for much of the day, but Hirvonen repelled the attacks in his Citroen DS3 to hold a narrow advantage over Thierry Neuville.

    In many ways Neuville’s performance was the drive of the day. The Belgian revolutionised the handling of his Ford Fiesta RS by adjusting the brakes after the opening loop and he charged from fifth to third, slashing a 20sec deficit to Hirvonen to just 3.1sec.

    “Everything went well except for a small spin this morning,” he said. “I hope we’ll continue like this tomorrow. I would be happy with third but I have two third-place finishes, so second would be nice. We’ll have a talk and come up with a plan.”

    Read More: wrc.com/news/enod of day 1




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    Sat Day 2: SS9



    ------------------------------

    SS10: Disaster for Hirvonen

    After a flying start to Saturday’s competition, with a fastest time on the opening SS9, second placed Mikko Hirvonen’s chance of a good result in Italy went out the window on SS10 when the Finn put his Citroen DS3 off the road just 500 metres from the start.

    Hirvonen’s car was undamaged but remained stuck in a ditch next to a hairpin corner almost within sight of the start control. He retired shortly after.

    The chief beneficiary of Hirvonen’s misery was Ford Fiesta RS driver Thierry Neuville, who was second quickest on the stage and now holds the runner-up position overall, almost 47 seconds ahead of Hirvonen’s team-mate Dani Sordo in third.

    “Okay, I put some pressure on him, it’s a sport,” said Neuville. “Now we have to stay in this position. I did this job on the last two rallies so I hope to do the same this afternoon.”

    Sordo was fourth fastest but under increasing pressure from Volkswagen’s Jari-Matti Latvala who is now just 8sec behind in the overall standings. “Both stages today have been very slippery, and in some places I don’t feel very comfortable. I try to manage the gap [to Latvala] but it’s very difficult,” said the Spaniard.

    more: wrc.com/news/archive/sardinia ss10



    ------------------------------

    SS11: Sordo spins away third

    Jari-Matti Latvala’s recovery took another step forward when he climbed to third, relegating Dani Sordo who made a mistake and dropped 20sec.

    After a first stage puncture yesterday cost two minutes, Latvala has been on a mission to regain a podium place and he achieved that when his pressure forced Citroen DS3 driver Sordo into a spin.

    “I spun and stopped the engine and it was very difficult to restart it,” admitted the Spaniard. “It happened at a crest into a hairpin bend and I was just too fast. It was really difficult, and in some places dangerous, because we could not see anything for the dust.”

    Latvala is now 13.2sec clear of Sordo, the Volkswagen Polo R pilot finishing the test unaware of Sordo’s problems behind him. “It’s going to be interesting. I’m trying to catch third. It’s really tempting but I am trying to push for that,” said the Finn.

    Leader Sebastien Ogier was fastest through the stage by 6.5sec from Latvala and his advantage over second-placed Thierry Neuville widened to 60.4sec.

    Looking and sounding totally relaxed at the finish, Ogier told WRC Live: “We’re trying to be as safe as possible. Save the car, save the tyres and avoid punctures.”

    Neuville was third fastest in his Ford Fiesta RS, 1.8sec behind Latvala, and the Belgian also gave the impression that he is firmly in control of the situation.

    more: wrc.com/news/sardinia ss11



    ----------------------------

    SS12: Ogier in charge

    With just four stages of Rally Italia Sardegna to go, Sebastien Ogier remains firmly in control, the Volkswagen ace returning to the midday service with a lead of 1min 15.9sec over Thierry Neuville.

    Ogier has led from the rally’s opening stage and was quickest on two of Saturday morning’s loop of four stages. With the repeat of those stages to come this afternoon, the Frenchman is on course for his fourth win of the season.

    “Everything is perfect, we are trying to control the race now,” the Polo R driver said after SS12. “It’s a long day, and there’s still a long way to go. We just have to stay focused.”

    Behind Ogier, Saturday morning has seen plenty of churn in the top five, most notably the retirement from second of Mikko Hirvonen after the Finn went off on SS10 and got his Citroen DS3 stuck in a ditch.

    This promoted Ford Fiesta RS driver Neuville into the provisional runner-up spot and, despite a couple of worrying moments on SS12, the Belgian remains on track to take the best WRC result of his career today.

    “I went a bit wide at a junction on a very fast section but there was no damage,” he explained. “ I went really high on a jump too, but the [engine] temperature looks okay so hopefully no problems.”

    Behind him, the story of the morning has been the progress of Volkswagen Polo R drivers Jari-Matti Latvala and Andreas Mikkelsen.

    more: wrc.com/news/ogier-in-charge




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    SS13: Mikkelsen closes on Sordo



    Jari-Matti Latvala was the pacesetter on SS13, the opening stage in Saturday’s decisive final loop, but it was his Volkswagen team-mate Andreas Mikkelsen who made the most progress.

    Before the mid-point service Mikkelsen had pledged to try and catch third placed Dani Sordo, and on SS13 he took a big step closer, narrowing the Spaniard’s advantage from 20.8sec to 11.5sec.

    The gaps between the top three drivers did not change significantly. Thierry Neuville was third quickest, 2.1sec slower than Latvala, while rally leader Sebastien Ogier was less than a second further back.

    Further down the order, WRC debutant Elfyn Evans moved back up to seventh after completing in the ninth-fastest time, 8.8sec quicker than his rival Michal Kosciuszko. The Welsh youngster is 2.5sec ahead of Kosciuszko heading to SS14.

    click: wrc.com/news/sardinia ss13



    ------------------------------

    SS14: Birthday blues for Mikkelsen

    Andreas Mikkelsen received a birthday present he didn’t want when his pursuit of Dani Sordo ended in retirement with broken suspension in his Volkswagen Polo R.

    The Norwegian, who is 24 today, had slashed the gap between himself and Sordo to just 11.5sec in their fight for fourth. However, just 4km after the start Mikkelsen slid wide in a slow corner and an impact damaged his suspension, bringing him to a halt.

    It relieved the pressure on Sordo, whose Citroen DS3 is now more than five minutes clear of Martin Prokop’s Ford Fiesta RS. However, the Spaniard had issues of his own that concerned him at the stage finish.

    “We stalled at the start line and after that I was flat out. I was a bit lucky, and I’m sorry for him because it’s not nice. I need to improve myself, but we need to work on the car also, work more on the traction,” said Sordo.

    click: wrc.com/news/sardinia ss14



    ------------------------------

    SS15: Ogier takes Power Stage



    Sebastien Ogier has won the Rally Italia Sardegna Power Stage to earn three FIA World Rally Championship bonus points in his Volkswagen Polo R.

    And with a handsome rally lead of 1min17s, the Frenchman looks set to add another 25 points to this appetiser on the next decisive stage.

    Ogier was one second quicker than Ford Fiesta RS driver Thierry Neuville, who collects two points, with Jari-Matti Latvala claiming the final point in his Volkswagen Polo R.

    “It was good for us, I’m happy with that,” Ogier said at the stage end. “I was watching the splits from Thierry and he was quite fast, so we had to drive fast to catch him.”

    Neuville had been following Latvala’s splits through the stage, and upped his pace as the Finn seemed to find another gear in the second half. “I was happy early on when I saw I was up on Jari’s time, but he got some back so I had to push on again,” he said.

    “From the look of the split times it was always going to be tight,” added Latvala. “I felt I was improving throughout the stage, and I made no mistakes, but for sure he’s doing well.”

    more: wrc.com/news/power stage ss15



    ------------------------------

    SS16: Ogier Wins !



    Sebastien Ogier has won Rally Italia Sardegna to extend his lead in the World Rally Championship.

    The Frenchman safely negotiated the final stage with a 1m 16.8sec lead in his Volkswagen Polo R, having dominated the event throughout the two days.

    Thierry Neuville finished second in a Ford Fiesta RS, the best result of the Belgian’s career.

    The top three was completed by the Polo R of Jari-Matti Latvala, who recovered from a first stage puncture yesterday morning to finish 31.2sec behind Neuville.




    ....
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    Kubica cruises to second WRC-2 win



    Robert Kubica secured his second victory in the WRC-2 championship today, dominating the second day of Rally Italia Sardegna to win by a comfortable 4min 17sec from Abdulaziz Al-Kuwari.

    Three weeks after securing his maiden WRC-2 victory in Greece, the ex Formula 1 driver was dominant throughout in his Citroen DS3 RRC, taking the lead on the opening stage and going fastest on all but two of the event’s 16 tests.

    The Pole carried a lead of 1min 11sec into Saturday’s competition and extended that with every stage to secure another maximum 25 points haul.

    “It’s never easy to win, but it has been good weekend,” acknowledged Kubica. “We had some problems with visibility in the dust and an intercom problem but we never lost our concentration. Where we were not sure of our pace we took care to finish the rally.

    “Actually, on today’s first loop we were driving so carefully that we were not learning anything, so I tried to push some more in the afternoon – of course taking care not to do too much. I still have much to learn.”

    Kubica now lies fourth in the WRC-2 standings, but has contested less rallies than any of the drivers ahead of him.

    more: wrc.com/news/kubica-second-wrc-2-win/


    ------------------------------

    Dramatic finale to WRC 3 fight



    Christian Riedemann won the WRC 3 category at Rally Italia Sardegna today after a dramatic finale.

    The German finished the tough two-day event 5min 05.4sec clear of Keith Cronin, with series debutant Stephane Consani in third, a further 2min 08.2sec behind.

    “I drove the whole weekend at 90 per cent and I think it was the right tactic. The others had problems but we had no punctures and no damage,” said Riedemann.

    The results hide a heartbreaking end for Consani, who was on course for victory until an electrical problem at the end of the penultimate stage derailed his ambitions.

    Consani led after the opening leg and he and Riedemann fought tooth and nail today. Although Riedemann briefly put his nose in front, Consani led by almost 15 seconds after the penultimate stage.

    more: wrc.com/news/dramatic-finale-to-wrc-3-fight/

    ------------------------------

    Next Rnd 8 - WRC Finland Aug 1-3





    Official Website: nesteoilrallyfinland.fi/en/


    Listen Live: wrc.com/fanzone/wrc-live/


    Last edited by Weasel 555; 07-29-2013 at 06:13 PM.
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    Awesome, thanks for the posts!

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