SS7: Intense battle continues in the World Rally Championship! Tänak back in the lead, Neuville sets the fastest time

Hyundai's Ott Tänak reclaimed the lead in Rally Sardinia on the seventh special stage.
Ott Tänak
Ott Tänak. Photo by Austral/Hyundai Motorsport GmbH
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Tänak was second fastest on the second run of Tempio Pausania, losing to his teammate Thierry Neuville by just a tenth of a second. In the overall standings, Tänak moved into the lead with a narrow 2.2-second margin over Toyota’s Sebastien Ogier.

Ogier has to drive very carefully as he no longer has any spare tyres left. The only spare he had on the morning loop was damaged on the opening special stage.

“This one I was careful because it was very rough, so I had to be. It’s always a big push,” Ogier reflected.

“I have hard tyres in the front and for the first part I couldn’t make them work at all, they were just solid with no bite. I had no good feeling,” Tänak summarised.

Hyundai’s Thierry Neuville, who leads the WRC standings, has been driving an excellent rally. Neuville, who was the first car on the road on Friday, is third in the rally, 36.2 seconds off the lead.

“We have a good run, we had to be careful in there with the roughness. Lot of stones in there and a big impact on the bumper, so we had to go slow in the fast sections. A small intercom issue, things got wet while drinking but we managed to work through it,” Neuville commented.

In fourth place is Toyota’s Takamoto Katsuta, who has left Hyundai’s Dani Sordo 14.3 seconds behind. Toyota’s Elfyn Evans is in sixth place.

“The stage is completely destroyed, I don’t have the feeling. We’re going from one side to the other, there are rocks everywhere. We’ve pushed like hell, but there are lots of rocks,” Sordo said.

Competing in a Toyota Rally2 car, Sami Pajari leads the WRC2 class and is impressively seventh overall. Pierre-Louis Loubet, who is second in the class, is already nearly half a minute behind the Finn.

“I think I need to go the best I can, it’s a long rally. It’s a lottery if you get a puncture or not, it doesn’t make a difference if you take it carefully or not so I need to keep the rhythm and take the pace,” Pajari noted.

Five more special stages are scheduled for Saturday in Rally Sardinia. The event concludes on Sunday.

Rally Sardinia standings after SS7/16:

1.Ott TänakHyundai1:32:23.3
2.Sebastien OgierToyota+2.2
3.Thierry NeuvilleHyundai+36.2
4.Takamoto KatsutaToyota+1:09.5
5.Dani SordoHyundai+1:23.8
6. Elfyn EvansToyota+1:42.0
7.Sami PajariToyota+2:42.5
8.Gregoire MunsterFord+3:05.3
9. Pierre-Louis LoubetSkoda +3:09.8
10. Jan SolansToyota+3:30.2

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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