It would appear that political uncertainty in the UK has reached the sporting fraternity, particularly in world rallying. Our lot didn't do so well in Italy at the weekend.
Four stages into Rally Italia Sardegna, Kris Meeke rolled out of the lead and out of the competition. "First of all, I'm sorry for Citroën, for all the team and for our fans," said Kris, "we had made a good start to the rally, I was trying hard to not make any mistakes and keep it clean and tidy. But we touched a bank with the rear left wheel and it spat the car over immediately, and we rolled. We managed to get the car back on its wheels and to the end of the stage, but it was inevitable that we would have to retire once we saw that part of the roll cage was damaged. I'm trying my best at the moment, but it's simply not good enough."
Kris was not alone, Craig Breen was already out too: "There was a jump towards the end of SS3 and we landed heavily, hitting a rock that we hadn't seen or noted in recce. The impact on landing damaged the gearbox. We tried a temporary fix for the oil leak, but it wasn't enough to keep going."
And it wasn't just the Citroen boys in trouble, Elfyn Evans set fourth fastest time through the Super Special, but just two stages later his rally was done. Caught-out by a dip after a tightening corner in SS4, the DMACK Ford Fiesta slid off the road and damaged the front-right suspension.
"On a tightening corner after a crest, there was a bad dip that I hadn’t noted on the recce," said Elfyn, "The car bottomed out and we were passengers after that. Unable to turn, we went straight into the trees and that was the end of our day. We weren’t going flat-out and I felt that we could have taken more risks through the first two stages so it’s just one of those things. There’s a fine line in this game and sometimes you get caught out – that was the case for us today.”
Fortunately for the M-Sport team, Ott Tanak was on the case and scored his maiden victory. As for team-mate and championship leader, Sebastien Ogier, he was this weekend's road-sweeper and finished 5th commenting: "It wasn’t the best weekend for us but we’ve come away with 13 points and that is definitely a positive after such a tough few days. To lead the championship at the mid-point of the season is great – as long as you’re in the lead, you know that you are doing well. Congratulations to Ott on the win. He fully deserves it and it is another fantastic result for the team who have all worked so hard this weekend.”
Jari-Matti Latvala put Toyota back on the podium in second place with Thierry Neuville doing his WRC aspirations no harm at all with third place overall.
Rally Italy Results:
Ott Tänak / Martin Järveoja (Ford Fiesta WRC) 3:25:15.1
2. Jari-Matti Latvala / Miikka Anttila (Toyota Yaris WRC) +12.3
3. Thierry Neuville / Nicolas Gilsoul (Hyundai 120 Coupe WRC) +1:07.7
4. Esapekka Lappi / Janne Ferm (Toyota Yaris WRC) +2:12.9
5. Sébastien Ogier / Julien Ingrassia (Ford
Fiesta WRC) +3:25.3
6. Juho Hänninen / Kaj Lindstrom (Toyota Yaris WRC) +3:38.5
7. Mads Østberg / Ola Fløene (Ford Fiesta
8. Andreas Mikkelsen / Anders Jaeger (Citroen C3 WRC) +8:07.8
9. Éric Camilli / Benjamin Veillas (Ford
Fiesta R5 Evo2) +11:15.8
10. Jan Kopecky / Pavel Dresler (Skoda Fabia R5) +11:21.4