JARI-MATTI LATVALA WAS FASTEST THROUGH AN UNUSUALLY DAMP SHAKEDOWN AT RALLY ITALIA SARDEGNA ON THURSDAY MORNING. He topped the times in the 3.51km Olmeda test in his Toyota Yaris, 0.8sec clear of Hayden Paddon’s Hyundai i20. Thierry Neuville, Esapekka Lappi and Ott Tänak were tied in third, a further tenth behind.
It was the third successive rally in which Latvala has won shakedown, but broken suspension sidelined him early at the last two rounds in Argentina and Portugal after hitting rocks. The Finn has changed his preparations in a bid to avoid an unwanted hat-trick.
“In the recce I used more time than previously. I stopped at some places to throw the stones away and I walked around and looked at the stones,” he told wrc.com
“I also tried to mark more carefully the bad places or where there was a stone on the ground and rather than going over it, I will go round it.
“We’ll run the car higher which should help with the impacts and I won’t turn so aggressively into corners. There was no time to do any suspension work between Portugal and this rally but the reality is that I’ve been driving too aggressively.”
Team-mate Lappi set the pace during the first pass of the gravel stage. Paddon was fastest on the next two runs before Latvala moved top of the standings on his fourth and final attempt.
Persistent rain fell in the Alghero service park and while the stage was drier, the obligatory hard compound Michelin rubber was not ideal for the conditions.
Sébastien Ogier and Andreas Mikkelsen were both caught out, swiping a rock during their first runs which caused bodywork damage to the co-driver’s side of their cars.
Leading positions were:
|1||Jari-Matti Latvala||Toyota Yaris||1min 53.9sec|
|2||Hayden Paddon||Hyundai i20||+0.8sec|
|3=||Thierry Neuville||Hyundai i20||+0.9sec|
|3=||Esapekka Lappi||Toyota Yaris||+0.9sec|
|3=||Ott Tänak||Toyota Yaris||+0.9sec|
|6||Sébastien Ogier||Ford Fiesta||+1.4sec|
|7||Elfyn Evans||Ford Fiesta||+2.2sec|
|8||Teemu Suninen||Ford Fiesta||+2.8sec|
|9||Andreas Mikkelsen||Hyundai i20||+3.2sec|
|10||Craig Breen||Citroën C3||+3.6sec|