SS8: Dramatic scenes in Sardinia! WRC leader makes a costly mistake – rally ruined

World Rally Championship leader Thierry Neuville's race in Sardinia was ruined on the eighth special stage.
Thierry Neuville
Thierry Neuville. Photo by: Dufour Fabien/ Hyundai Motorsport GmbH
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Neuville slipped off the road with his Hyundai i20 N Rally1 in a right-hand corner. The off-road excursion wasn’t severe, but the car got badly stuck on the embankment. With no spectators nearby to help, the Belgian had to retire from a safe third position.

Hyundai’s Ott Tänak set the fastest time on the second run of Erula-Tula. Toyota’s Sebastien Ogier was only 3.5 seconds behind the Estonian.

“(Thierry off?) For sure it’s disturbing. Terrible stage, like driving without powersteering. So difficult to drive. Quite exhausted, sorry,” Tänak said.

“Never seen this stage so rough before,” Ogier commented.

With Neuville’s retirement, Toyota’s Takamoto Katsuta moved up to third place. The Japanese driver’s gap to the leader is one minute and 17 seconds.

“Very very rough. Not so easy to keep the same rhythm as first pass. The lines are very different,” Katsuta said.

Hyundai’s Dani Sordo moved up to fourth place, with a 23-second lead over Toyota’s Elfyn Evans. Sami Pajari, leading the WRC2 class, is impressively in sixth place overall.

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

Rally Sardinia standings after SS8/16:

1.Ott TänakHyundai1:51:09.7
2.Sebastien OgierToyota+3.5
3.Takamoto KatsutaToyota+1:17.5
4.Dani SordoHyundai+1:34.6
5. Elfyn EvansToyota+1:57.6
6.Sami PajariToyota+3:26.7
7.Gregoire MunsterFord+3:31.3
8. Jan SolansToyota+4:15.9
9. Pierre-Louis LoubetSkoda+5:37.9

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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