SS9: Toyota driver retires from podium position – Ott Tänak makes an unusual statement about Hyundai’s strategy

The Saturday special stages of Rally Sardinia have seen several drivers drop out.
Takamoto Katsuta.
Takamoto Katsuta. Photo by: Toyota GAZOO Racing WRT
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In the final stage of the morning loop, WRC leader Thierry Neuville retired after going off the road. During the Monte Lerno stage, after the tyre service, it was Toyota’s Takamoto Katsuta‘s turn to experience disappointment.

Katsuta’s Toyota GR Yaris Rally1 car suffered a technical issue on the opening stage of the afternoon loop. Ultimately, the Japanese driver had to pull off onto a side road from the special stage. Katsuta confirmed on social media that the issue was related to the gearbox.

Katsuta was in third place before encountering this issue. Following his retirement, Hyundai’s Dani Sordo moved up to the final podium position.

“Taka was doing a really good job until now, congratulations Taka it was a nice fight. It is nice to see Taka when he feels good and he is making a good job with the car. Unfortunately this is rally,” Sordo said at the stage finish.

Toyota’s Sebastien Ogier took the lead in Rally Sardinia after setting the fastest time on the Monte Lerno stage, known for its jumps. Ogier beat Ott Tänak by 6.8 seconds and took the overall lead by 3.3 seconds over Hyundai’s Estonian driver.

“It was a nice stage, more enjoyable than the previous one. One of the rougher stages I’ve ever run, but it was clean,” Ogier said.

Tänak, on the other hand, made an unusual statement after the stage. According to Tänak, he received an order from Hyundai’s team principal.

“We gave everything. We’re trying to be safe and not push it. We’ve been asked to be safe and not push it,” Tänak said.

Toyota’s Elfyn Evans is in fourth place, but he is already over two minutes behind the leader. Sami Pajari, who leads the WRC2 class, is in fifth place overall.

There are still three more special stages to be run on Saturday in Rally Sardinia. The event concludes on Sunday.

Rally Sardinia standings after SS9/16:

1.Sebastien OgierToyota2:06:26.3
2.Ott TänakHyundai+3.3
3.Dani SordoHyundai+1:52.0
4.Elfyn EvansToyota+2:20.5
5. Sami PajariToyota+4:09.7
6.Gregoire MunsterFord+4:13.5
7.Jan SolansToyota+5:03.5
8. Yohan RosselCitroen+5:26.4
9.Martin ProkopSkoda+6:32.8
10.Kajetan KajetanowiczSkoda+6:34.2

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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