SS5: Ott Tänak charges to the lead in Rally Sardinia – Sebastien Ogier faces issues

Ott Tänak took the lead in the Rally Sardinia on the first special stage of Saturday morning.
Ott Tänak.
Ott Tänak. Photo: Vincent Thuillier/Hyundai Motorsport GmbH
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Hyundai driver Tänak was clearly the fastest driver on the opening Tempio Pausania stage of the day, beating his teammate Thierry Neuville by 3.3 seconds.

Tänak also outpaced Sebastien Ogier, who had led the rally after Friday, by 4.6 seconds. This meant that the Estonian driver took the lead by a margin of 0.1 seconds over Ogier.

“It started okay, then I realised that we have a bonnet open, which was disturbing quite a lot,” Tänak reported.

Ogier was slightly faster than Tänak in the first half of the stage but fell behind clearly towards the end. The reason was revealed at the finish: Ogier had suffered a slow puncture.

“I have had tyre damage since the beginning. I have no idea why,” Ogier lamented.

Ogier now has to be extremely careful, as the Toyota star went into the morning loop with only one spare tire. Thus, the Frenchman cannot afford another puncture during the next three special stages.

Championship leader Thierry Neuville moved up to third place in the competition, ahead of Takamoto Katsuta and Dani Sordo. Neuville is over half a minute behind the leader in the overall standings.

“It didn’t feel so quick, it’s so sandy in there, more than expected. I had a clean run but we struggled to keep the line,” Neuville said.

WRC2 class leader Sami Pajari drove impressively on Tempio Pausania, setting the fifth-fastest time and leaving behind main class drivers such as Elfyn Evans, Sordo, Adrien Fourmaux, and Gregoire Munster. Pajari moved up to seventh place overall, ahead of Munster, who is driving a Ford Rally1 car.

Seven more special stages are to be driven in the Rally Sardinia on Saturday.

Rally Sardinia standings after SS5/16:

1.Ott TänakHyundai1:03:39.7
2.Sebastien OgierToyota+0.1
3.Thierry NeuvilleHyundai+35.4
4.Takamoto KatsutaToyota+40.3
5.Dani SordoHyundai+44.8
6. Elfyn EvansToyota+1:07.4
7.Sami PajariToyota+1:44.6
8.Gregoire MunsterFord+1:51.1
9. Pierre-Louis LoubetSkoda +2:08.9
10. Jan SolansToyota+2:23.1
11. Marco BulaciaSkoda+2:24.0
12.Josh McErleanSkoda+2:26.5

Itinerary for Rally Sardinia (CET):

Friday 31.5.

08.01 Shakedown: Ittiri (2,08 km)
14.33 SS1: Osilo - Tergu 1 (25,65 km)
15.33 SS2: Sedini - Castelsardo 1 (13,26 km)
17.33 SS3: Osilo - Tergu 2 (25,65 km)
18.35 SS4: Sedini - Castelsardo 2 (13,26 km)

Saturday 1.6.

07.41 SS5: Tempio Pausania 1 (12,03 km)
08.49 SS6: Tula 1 (22,61 km)
10.41 SS7: Tempio Pausania 2 (12,03 km)
11.49 SS8: Tula 2 (22,61 km)
14.05 SS9: Monte Lerno - Monti di Ala 1 (25,33 km)
15.05 SS10: Coiluna - Loelle 1 (14,53 km)
17.05 SS11: Monte Lerno - Monti di Ala 2 (25,33 km)
18.05 SS12: Coiluna - Loelle 2 (14,53 km)

Sunday 2.6.

08.00 SS13: Cala Flumini 1 (12,55 km)
09.05 SS14: Sassari - Argentiera 1 (7,10 km)
11.00 SS15: Cala Flumini 2 (12,55 km)
12.15 SS16: Sassari - Argentiera 2 (7,10 km) *Power Stage

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