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WRC - Sordo grabs a last-gasp win as Tänak plunges down

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2019 Rally Italia Sardegna - Sunday

2019 Rally Italia Sardegna - D. Sordo / C. Del Barrio

Hyundai’s Dani Sordo, alongside his co-driver Carlos Del Barrio, has claimed the second victory of his FIA World Rally Championship career in a dramatic conclusion to Rally Italia Sardegna, when the dominant rally leader Ott Tänak suffered a steering issue on the very last stage, which demoted him to fifth overall.

Tänak still takes the lead of the drivers’ classification, having finished ahead of his championship rivals Sébastien Ogier and Thierry Neuville.

The final day of the event in Sardinia featured two stages in the north of the harbour city of Alghero, each test run twice for a total of 41.9 competitive kilometres.

Having won every stage on Saturday, Tänak began the final day with a lead of 25.9 seconds over Sordo. He brought this margin up to 26.7 seconds at the end of the first three stages despite keeping a steady pace so as not to compromise his third consecutive victory.

However, as he had just started in the Power Stage, Tänak suffered locked steering on his Yaris, which caused him to spin and resulted in a time loss of over two minutes, relegating him to fifth place.

Sordo sensationally claimed the win, his first since Rallye Deutschland in 2013. It is the second victory which Hyundai has gained on the final stage of an event this year, after Thierry Neuville benefited from Elfyn Evans’ puncture in Corsica.

Teemu Suninen scored his best WRC finish to date in second place in his first event with his new, yet experienced co-driver Jarmo Lehtinen – the former codriver of Mikko Hirvonen. The M-Sport duo finished 13.7 seconds behind Sordo.

Andreas Mikkelsen snatched third place, making it a double podium finish for Hyundai, after passing M-Sport’s Elfyn Evans by 0.9 seconds on the final stage. Evans had been credited with seven seconds overnight, after being stuck in Meeke’s dust on SS15, which increased his margin to 14.9 seconds. But Mikkelsen remarkably scored four stage wins out of four on the final day today to gain advantage over the Brit.

Behind Tänak, Neuville finished in sixth position after going off on Friday – the result of a pace-notes mix-up - and struggled with the handling of his Hyundai throughout the weekend. The Belgian however set the third best time in the Power Stage to move to within seven points of Tänak.

Running far down the order after he had clipped a rock and retired on Friday, Citroën’s Ogier delivered an impressive performance in the Power Stage to snatch four points. He is now only four points behind Tänak in the drivers’ championship.

Team-mate Esapekka Lappi finished seventh, while Kris Meeke is eighth. The Ulsterman had had to stop to change a wheel in Saturday’s final stage as he was chasing down Evans and Mikkelsen.

In ninth and tenth overall, the Škoda Fabia R5 Evo scored its second one-two finish in FIA WRC 2 Pro, with Kalle Rovanperä achieving his third straight win by 24.6 seconds over Jan Kopecký. Citroën’s Mads Østberg is third of the category, but 18th overall.

Pierre-Louis Loubet clinched his second consecutive FIA WRC 2 win after Takamoto Katsuta suffered a brief fire on his car after Sunday’s opening test, which forced him to retire.  Kajetan Kajetanowicz took second in his first start in a Skoda Fabia R5, with Simone Tempestini third.

Jan Solans snatched victory in round three of the FIA Junior WRC, overtaking Dennis Rådström on the second stage of the day and finishing with a lead of 14.9 seconds. Tom Kristensson is third.


2019 Rally Italia Sardegna - Final Results:

1. Dani Sordo (SPA) / Carlos Del Barrio (SPA)Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC3hr 32min 27.2sec
2. Teemu Suninen (FIN) / Marko Salminen (FIN)Ford Fiesta WRC3hr 32min  40.9sec
3. Andreas Mikkelsen (NOR) / Anders Jaeger-Amland (NOR)Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC3hr 32min 59.8sec
4. Elfyn Evans (GBR) / Scott Martin (GBR)Ford Fiesta WRC3hr 33min 00.7sec
5. Ott Tänak (EST) / Martin Järveoja (EST)                         Toyota Yaris WRC3hr 33min 57.3sec
6. Thierry Neuville (BEL) / Nicolas Gilsoul (BEL)Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC3hr 34min 33.9sec
7. Esapekka Lappi (FIN) / Janne Ferm (FIN)Citroën C3 WRC3hr 35min 26.8sec
8. Kris Meeke (GBR) / Sebastian Marshall (GBR)Toyota Yaris WRC3hr 37min 07.3sec
9. Kalle Rovanperä (FIN) / Jonne Halttunen (FIN)Škoda Fabia R5 Evo3hr 40min 51.8sec
10. Jan Kopecky (CZE) / Pavel Bresler (CZE)Škoda Fabia R5 Evo3hr 41min 16.4sec