Ogier leads Evans in Rally of Italy as Tanak, Sordo crash out

·3-min read
Spain's two-time defending champion Dani Sordo of Hyundai crashed out of the Rally of Italy in Sardinia.

World champion Sebastien Ogier of Toyota heads into the final day of the Rally of Italy in the lead after Hyundai rivals Ott Tanak and Dani Sordo both crashed out of the fifth leg of the season on Saturday.

Ogier, a three-time Sardinia winner between 2013 and 2015, has a 38.9-second lead on Welsh teammate Elfyn Evans, with four specials left on Sunday.

"Until now it's been a perfect weekend for us," said the seven-time world champion from France.

"We did everything we had to do well, now we have to finish the job."

It was another bruising rally for Hyundai who also suffered last month in Portugal.

Tanak was forced out while leading after hitting a rock on stage 12, with Spanish teammate Sordo spectacularly rolling his car on stage 15, the penultimate one of the day.

Tanak had been leading since the start of the race on the Mediterranean island, holding a 40.6sec advantage on Ogier going into the special from Lerno to Monti di Ala.

But the 2019 world champion damaged his Hyundai i20 after hitting a rock on the gravel roads and shattering his rear left suspension.

The Estonian slowed down mid-race and parked his car 8.9km into the 22.08km special stage.

The 33-year-old, winner in Sardinia in 2017 and currently fourth in the overall world standings, was also forced to retire while leading in Portugal.

Meanwhile Sordo had been sitting second, 24.6sec behind Ogier when he lost control on a bend with the car rolling onto its roof, losing a wheel with the suspension smashed.

Both Sordo and co-driver Borja Rozada both emerged unscathed but their day was over.

Ogier dominated the day with five stage wins, SS10 and SS12 to SS15.

But Evans came back in the final stage of the day, SS16, having also won SS11, as he targets his fourth podium of the season.

Evans won on gravel in Portugal last time out to close the gap to two points on Ogier, who leads the standings after wins in Monte Carlo and Croatia.

Hyundai's hopes are now with Belgian Thierry Neuville, who moved up to third overall, one minute off the pace.

The rally ends on Sunday with three special stages plus a climatic power stage in which additional championship points will be up for grabs.

Rally of Sardinia standings:

1. Sebastien Ogier/Julien Ingrassia (FRA/Toyota) 2hr 50min 33.1sec, 2. Elfyn Evans/Scott Martin (GBR/Toyota) at 38.9sec, 3. Thierry Neuville-Martijn Wydaeghe (BEL/Hyundai) 1:01.6, 4. Takamoto Katsuta/Daniel Barritt (JPN-GBR/Toyota) 4:01.2, 5. Jari Huttunen/Mikko Lukka (FIN/Hyundai) 8:09.6

Retired: Ott Tanak/Martin Jarveoja (EST/Hyundai) SS12, Dani Sordo/Borja Rozada (ESP/Hyundai) SS15

Special stage winners

Tanak 6 (SS1 to SS5, SS9), Sordo 3 (SS6, SS7, SS8 tied), Neuville 1 (ES8 tied), Ogier 5 (SS10, SS12 to SS15), Evans 2 (SS11, SS16)

bur-ea/td

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