Sébastien Ogier clinches WRC Sardinia win – The Checkered Flag

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After a dominant show from Hyundai’s Ott Tänak and Dani Sordo fell to catastrophe, Sébastien Ogier rose to the highest to guide a Toyota Gazoo Racing 1-2 and win the Rally Italia Sardegna. The end result sees the reigning champion lengthen his lead within the standings to 11 factors over Elfyn Evans, who completed the rally 46 seconds behind in a distant second. After 5 of the FIA World Rally Championship’s 12 occasions this yr, Belgian Thierry Neuville is secured in third within the standings, 28 factors forward of his teammate Tänak and 18 factors behind Evans. The Belgian additionally took third place within the rally, simply over a minute behind winner Ogier.

Toyota shall be delighted, as they now maintain the highest two positions within the driver’s standings and prime the producer’s standings. Nevertheless, it might have been a unique story this weekend had luck appeared extra kindly on Ogier’s rivals. Friday appeared set to be a troublesome problem for Ogier, as he was tasked with clearing the free gravel of the Sardegna phases. This was right down to the truth that the Championship chief heads onto the phases first, and with the surfaces gaining in grip with each runner, Ogier noticed himself finish the primary day half a minute off of the rally lead. 

As an alternative, it was Ott Tänak and Dani Sordo who had a tremendous Friday for Hyundai Motorsports. Tänak took the opening three stage wins, Dani Sordo took wins in stage 6 and seven, to maintain reigning champion Ogier in third place. Having been simply six seconds off the rally lead after the primary three phases, Kalle Rovanperä’s rally turned bitter as he ended Friday morning with a suspension failure. Elsewhere, there was a catastrophe for Teemu Suninen, returning to the WRC M-Sport Fiesta, he crashed out on the opening stage, and his rally was over. Elfyn Evans and Thierry Neuville struggled to seek out the tempo to problem the entrance runners, the latter misplaced much more time on stage 7, after clattering a financial institution, which resulted in his rear proper tyre falling off the rim. Nevertheless, usually, Friday was an awesome day for Hyundai, with an i20 WRC profitable each stage, 5 of them being Tänak, who took a 19.4-second lead after eight phases.

Early on in Saturday’s operating, the tide started to show. Dani Sordo nearly drowned his Hyundai i20 in a water splash throughout stage 9, gaining injury and dropping 15 seconds because of this. All through phases 9-12, Elfyn Evans started to achieve some kind, by no means falling out of the highest three stage instances and claiming a stage 11 win. Neuville struggled to maintain tempo all through Saturday morning. Issues wouldn’t get higher for Hyundai, a rock on stage 12 destroyed Ott Tänak’s suspension, and the rally chief was out! Ogier would declare the lead at this level, some 17.5 seconds forward of Sordo. It then went from dangerous to worse for Hyundai, Tänak out, Neuville struggling after which Dani Sordo had a wheel ripped from his automobile on Stage 15. Hyundai’s loss was Toyota’s acquire. Ogier lead Evans going into Sunday morning, with Neuville and Takamoto Katsuta being the one remaining WRC rivals within the prime 5 of the standings.

On Sunday it was too little too late from Neuville, who did take the win on stage 18. Nevertheless, as a result of misfortune of his teammates and rivals, this efficiency would assist him cement his podium standing. Evans would win stage 19, defending his second place within the standings. Ogier had no points all through phases 17-19. Come the Energy Stage, there was nearly some late drama, with each Toyota drivers struggling a slight scare within the water splash, Evans having to cease to attend for his Toyota to clear itself after taking up an excessive amount of water. It mattered not, as Toyota Gazoo Racing took a convincing 1-2, strengthening the maintain on the highest of the drivers and producers standings. 

Picture Credit score: wrc.com

For Ogier, it was his 52nd win and a record-equalling 4th win at Sardegna. He and the remainder of the Toyota Gazoo Racing squad shall be stuffed with confidence because the WRC makes a sensational return to Safari Rally Kenya, based mostly in Naivasha on 24 – 27 June. It should certainly be emotional for followers of the Safari Rally, the primary operating of the occasion for the WRC since 2002. It is going to be right down to Ogier and Toyota’s rivals to bounce again there after a troublesome operating this weekend.

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