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WRC – Tänak controls his lead in Sardinia

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2019 Rally Italia Sardegna – Sunday morning

2019 Rally Italia Sardegna - O. Tänak / M. Järveoja

Ott Tänak continues to lead Rally Italia Sardegna by a comfortable margin after the Toyota driver managed his advantage through the opening loop on Sunday morning.

The crews headed up north from Alghero for the Cala Flumini and Sassari-Argentiera tests, which will both be repeated following regroup in Porto Torres as the final two stages of the rally.

Tänak was third fastest in the opening stage, behind Andreas Mikkelsen and Elfyn Evans in a head-to-head battle, to increase his lead over second-placed Dani Sordo to 31.2 seconds. He then had a more controlled run through SS17 but continues to lead by a margin of 28.7 seconds.

Teemu Suninen remains third, 13.9 seconds behind Sordo after setting the second fastest time in SS17.

Evans was only 0.2 seconds slower than Mikkelsen in SS16 and was given back seven seconds by the stewards after being caught in Meeke's dust in SS15. That made his advantage over Mikkelsen 14.7 seconds, but another stage win for the Norwegian in SS17 cut this buffer down to 9.2 seconds with two stages to go.

Thierry Neuville is still seventh ahead of Esapekka Lappi and Kris Meeke. The Škoda duo of Kalle Rovanperä and Jan Kopecký are ninth and 10th overall and one-two in FIA WRC 2 Pro, separated by 22.8 seconds.

There was drama in FIA WRC 2 with overnight leader Takamoto Katsuta suffering a brief fire when he arrived at the regroup after SS16, which forced him to retire. Pierre-Louis Loubet regained the class lead by 45 seconds over Kajetan Kajetanowicz.

The fight for FIA Junior WRC looks set to go down to the wire. Jan Solans reduced Dennis Rådström’s lead to just one second in SS16, and then moved ahead by 1.3 seconds in SS17.