A mistake by Jari-Matti Latvala in the final stage of the second day of Rally Italia Sardegna has dropped the Finn from potential victory to third overall, handing the advantage to reigning World Champion and team-mate Sébastien Ogier. In the longest stage of this year’s FIA World Rally Championship (59.13 km) Latvala hit a rock and was forced to stop and change the damaged wheel, losing him over two minutes and paving the way for Ogier to claim his fourth victory of the season. There will however be an intense battle for second as Latvala is only 21.3 seconds behind second-placed Mads Østberg.
Today’s route covered just two stages, both repeated, but with two runs through the 59.13 kilometre Monte Lerno stage it was a tough day in scorching temperatures. This morning Latvala once again set the pace, extending his lead to nearly 30 seconds with fastest time in SS10. In the following stage the Finn had to switch to road mode, fearing an overheating problem, but ultimately the problem was traced to a faulty sensor and while he dropped some time he retained the lead at the mid-day service. This afternoon belonged to Ogier, the Frenchman winning both stages and cruising to the head of the leaderboard when Latvala was forced to stop. Sandwiching the two Volkswagens is Mads Østberg. He and Andreas Mikkelsen had been fighting hard for third and, while Østberg took time out of his fellow Norwegian, Mikkelsen then lost time in the last two stages with a broken damper. Overnight they are split by 36.3 seconds with 46.84 competitive kilometres remaining on Sunday.
Robert Kubica had been setting a great pace but the Pole took a wheel off in stage 12 while holding fifth position, elevating Elfyn Evans up the leaderboard. The Welshman has more than a minute in hand to sixth-placed Martin Prokop and Henning Solberg is seventh ahead of Kubica and Khalid Al Qassimi. Nasser Al-Attiyah, 10th last night, went off the road in the final stage and Hyundai newcomer Hayden Paddon stopped in the final stage with an engine problem.
Rally Italia Sardegna – Unofficial Results after Day 2