OTT TÄNAK PRODUCED A STUNNING DRIVE IN SATURDAY’S OPENING SPEED TEST AT RALLY ITALIA SARDEGNA TO CLIMB TO SECOND OVERALL. The Estonian won the 14.97km Coiluna – Loelle test by 6.5sec in his Toyota Yaris from overnight leader Dani Sordo. That was enough to demote Teemu Suninen, who was a further half second back, to third place and reduce Sordo’s advantage to 4.7sec.
Tänak’s option of Michelin’s mixed medium and hard compound tyres worked perfectly on the sandy roads. “Two years ago I used the same tyre package so I think everything will be OK. The next stages have always been very slippery in the past,” he explained.
Both Sordo, driving a Hyundai i20, and Suninen, at the wheel of a Ford Fiesta, chose hard tyres, with an eye on the harder surfaces expected in the next two tests.
“It was really slippery so with hard tyres there was no traction at all. It was difficult to manage the car,” said Sordo.
Fourth fastest time for Elfyn Evans was sufficient for the Welshman to move ahead of Andreas Mikkelsen into fourth place. The Fiesta driver was 0.3sec quicker than the Norwegian’s i20 to move ahead by a tenth of a second.
Sébastien Ogier, who was due to start first in the order following yesterday’s retirement, deliberately incurred time penalties in a bid to find improved grip.
With no prospect of a good result after his crash, he checked in late at the stage start to benefit from cleaner roads, picking up a 70sec penalty for his troubles.