Sunday, 14 June 2015

Rally - Ogier in Italy

Sébastien Ogier and Julien Ingrassia scored their third victory in a row in Sardinia on Rally Italy while scoring a remarkable 21st victory with the Polo R WRC.

In contrast, Jari-Matti Latvala and Miikka Anttila had to fight back to score sixth place after two punctures on Friday and Saturday and damage to the suspension after hitting a rock.

Andreas Mikkelsen retired on the Friday after unfortunately hitting a pothole and also failed to complete the Saturday, but rejoined under Rally 2 regulations for final day.


Rally Italy was a real scorcher – with air temperatures of around 29 degrees and up to 43 degrees out on the road. The stages were rutty and rocky with Saturday's route at 212.83 kilometres, the longest day of rallying since the 2002 Safari Rally.
At the finish Sébastien Ogier said: "The win here on Sardinia was very important in our fight for the world championship. We now have a big lead over our rivals. The decisive factor for the success in addition to a perfect car and a fantastic team was that Julien and I were in perfect harmony this weekend. This is nothing unusual, but there were so many new stages here and the days were so long, that we both needed to be fully focussed the whole time. On top of that is the heat in the cockpit and the demanding and harsh stages - at the end of the day you are absolutely shattered when you fall into bed. This has been the most physically demanding rally of the season so far.” 

However, the big story of the weekend was Hayden Paddon's pace in the Hyundai. He led the rally for the first two days before an impact with a rocky base in a compression broke the gearbox. "We could smell oil pretty much straightaway," said Paddon, "and although we still had gears the unit was moving about and losing oil." Fortunately a telephone call to service provided sufficient suggestions for him to limp back to overnight service and get the box repaired for the final day. It was a very close call.

Paddon became the first New Zealand driver to lead a WRC round outside his home country with team mate Thierry Neuville claiming third place after Mads Østberg went off the road on the opening test on Sunday damaging his Citroen’s brakes. He limped through the final three tests, falling behind both Neuville and Elfyn Evans but holding off Jari-Matti Latvala.

After driveshaft problems on the opening day, Elfyn Evans recovered to finish fourth in his Ford Fiesta RS, 1min 12.3sec behind Neuville and more than two minutes clear of Østberg.

As for Kris Meeke, he struck trouble on the opening day - see following separate story.

Final Results:

1, Sébastien Ogier/Julien Ingrassia (Volkswagen) 4h 25m 54.3s

2, Hayden Paddon/John Kennard (Hyundai) + 3m 05.4s

3, Thierry Neuville/Nicolas Gilsoul (Hyundai) + 4m 22.5s

4, Elfyn Evans/Daniel Barritt (Ford) + 5m 34.8s

5, Mads Østberg/Jonas Andersson (Citroën) + 7m 50.1s

6, Jari-Matti Latvala/Miikka Anttila (Volkswagen) + 8m 06.7s

7, Yurii Protasov/Pavlo Cherepin (Citroën) + 14m 57.7s

8, Paolo Andreucci/Anna Andreussi (Peugeot) + 15m 03.3s

9, Jan Kopecký/Pavel Dresler (Škoda) + 17m 41.7s

10, Khalid Al Qassimi/Chris Patterson (Citroën) + 19m 12.0s

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