Rally Italia Sardegna: Day 1
Ogier third after a superb start in the Toyota Yaris WRC
TOYOTA GAZOO Racing World Rally Team’s Sébastien Ogier overcame the odds to occupy a podium position after the first day of Rally Italia Sardegna. Tasked with sweeping the gravel stages as championship leader, Ogier showed impressive performance to end the day in third overall, with his team-mate Elfyn Evans just one place behind in fourth.
The sand-covered stages of Sardinia can be among the most demanding of the season for the driver who runs first on the road, but Ogier fought superbly against that disadvantage. Enjoying an improved feeling in his Toyota Yaris WRC after setup changes made since the last round in Portugal, he set top-three times in five of the day’s eight stages and at one point moved up into second place overall. He ultimately finished the day 16.8 seconds behind second place.
Second in the championship, Portugal winner Evans was also at a disadvantage with his road position compared to his other rivals. He did not feel as comfortable as his team-mates during the morning stages, but was able to improve his performance throughout the afternoon and climbed up to fourth overall, 25.8s behind Ogier and 1.2s in front of the driver in fifth.
Kalle Rovanperä showed strongly in the morning, vying for stage wins and holding second place overall. Unfortunately, his day came to an early end when he stopped in SS4 with a technical issue, but his car will be repaired for him to restart on Saturday.
Takamoto Katsuta is sixth overall in his Yaris WRC as he continues his strong recent performances as part of the TGR WRC Challenge Program.
Jari-Matti Latvala (Team Principal)
“Seb did an excellent day today. Already I could see his speed and commitment in shakedown yesterday, and today he lost a lot less time than would be expected running first on the road. It was a perfect day from him. Elfyn had a more difficult day, but the best thing is that he was very consistent and didn’t make any mistakes, and this is important with the championship in mind, so I’m really pleased about how he handled the situation. We were very happy to see the performance that Kalle had this morning before the problem unfortunately forced him to stop. We are still investigating what caused it, but at least he will be able to restart tomorrow.”
Sébastien Ogier (Driver car 1)
“It’s been a very good day for us, I can be very happy with what we’ve done. The morning was especially strong. We were driving on two new stages and I think this helped us to make the difference. With Julien, we did a good job on the recce and had good pacenotes, and I felt confident and able to push. I was also very happy with the car, as we did some good setup changes after Portugal. This afternoon was a bit tougher, as I had expected, but most importantly we’re third overall and that will give us a better start position tomorrow. It’s a big gap to the leader, but it was a very strong performance for us today, so let’s see what we can do.”
Elfyn Evans (Driver car 33)
“It was not a good start for us at all this morning. I struggled with the feeling in the car: We made a few changes after Portugal to try and improve things a bit, but it didn’t give me the confidence level that I had before, so it was difficult to settle down into a good rhythm. Things were definitely working better in the afternoon and I felt happier in the car. I was not so happy with the stage times still, but at least things are moving in the right direction and we’ll try to build on that tomorrow.”
Kalle Rovanperä (Driver car 69)
“It was a really nice start this morning. I had a good feeling in the car again and we could be back on a good pace. It felt really good; I didn’t even need to push so much, so it was really enjoyable. Then on SS4 we had an issue and had to stop. It’s sad that the day ended in this way because it was going well before that. But the team will be able to fix the car so we can restart tomorrow and try to find a similar feeling again for the rest of the rally.”
End of day one (Friday):
1 Ott Tänak/Martin Järveoja (Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC) 1h26m58.0s
2 Dani Sordo/Borja Rozada (Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC) +19.4s
3 Sébastien Ogier/Julien Ingrassia (Toyota Yaris WRC) +36.2s
4 Elfyn Evans/Scott Martin (Toyota Yaris WRC) +1m02.0s
5 Thierry Neuville/Martijn Wydaeghe (Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC) +1m03.2s
6 Takamoto Katsuta/Dan Barritt (Toyota Yaris WRC) +1m26.1s
7 Mads Østberg/Torstein Eriksen (Citroën C3 Rally2) +3m41.7s
8 Jari Huttunen/Mikko Lukka (Hyundai i20 R5) +4m08.7s
9 Yohan Rossel/Alexandre Coria (Citroën C3 Rally2) +4m35.8s
10 Pepe López/Diego Vallejo (Škoda Fabia Rally2 evo) +4m52.1s
38 Kalle Rovanperä/Jonne Halttunen (Toyota Yaris WRC) +49m58.3s
(Results as of 21:00 on Friday, for the latest results please visit www.wrc.com)
Saturday follows a similar format to Friday. The morning features two passes over both the Coiluna – Loelle and Lerno – Monti di Alà stages, the latter featuring the iconic Micky’s Jump. After mid-day service in Olbia, Bortigiadas – Aggius – Viddalba (last run in 2009) and Sedini – Castelsardo will both be tackled twice during the afternoon.
Press kit and Event pictures will be uploaded here
Follow TOYOTA GAZOO Racing WRT:
∇Facebook : https://www.facebook.com/TOYOTAGAZOORacingWRC
∇Twitter : https://www.twitter.com/TGR_WRC (@TGR_WRC)
∇Instagram : https://www.instagram.com/tgr_wrc/ (@TGR_WRC)