Volkswagen’s Sebastien Ogier secured his fourth victory of the season with a win in Rally Italia Sardegna, providing VW’s tenth consecutive rally victory as well. Mads Ostberg gave Citroen their best result of the year with a second place finish, followed by the other two VWs of Jari-Matti Latvala and Andreas Mikkelsen, who finished the rally in third and fourth respectively.
Ogier had endured a tough day one at Sardinia as he had to run first; sweeping the roads for the other competitors behind, who benefited from a quicker and a cleaner line. He fought back during the second run, and ended the day 22.4 seconds off teammate and rival, Jari-Matti Latvala. Day two saw Ogier capitalise from Latvala’s misfortunes when the latter hit a rock and damaged a wheel, losing 2 minutes as a result.
Ogier went into the final day with a comfortable lead and stayed consistent by finishing most of the stages as third fastest. The other VW driver Andreas Mikkelsen won the final Power Stage leg, putting him fourth overall. Meanwhile, former F1 driver Robert Kubica finished the rally in eighth place, a good effort considering he was out of the race on Saturday after he took the front-right wheel off. Mikko Hirvonen’s rally was over in a dramatic way on day one when his Ford Fiesta was engulfed in flames, turning the Fiesta into burnt metal scrap (pic below) within minutes. Fortunately, he and his co-driver escaped unhurt.
Quote from the joyous Ogier “I am overjoyed! This win was definitely one of the toughest of my career. Right from day one, Julien and I have pushed ourselves to the very limit here on Sardinia. In this heat, and with the extremely slippery conditions on the roads, we had to risk everything to put Jari-Matti Latvala and Miikka Anttila under pressure. It ultimately paid off, and we won. We may lead the World Championship at the halfway point in the season, but that is no reason to relax: Jari-Matti is on top form at the moment. However, we also have an eye on the others. Mads Østberg was impressive, and congratulations to Andreas Mikkelsen for his win on the Power Stage!”
Rally Italia Sardegna: Overall standings
1. Sebastien Ogier Volkswagen Motorsport Polo R WRC 4hours 02m 37.8s M
2. Mads Ostberg Citroen Total Abu Dhabi WRT DS3 WRC +01m 23.1s M
3. Jari-Matti Latvala Volkswagen Motorsport Polo R WRC +01m 32.8s M
4. Andreas Mikkelsen Volkswagen Motorsport II Polo R WRC +02m 39.3s M
5. Elfyn Evans M-Sport WRT Ford Fiesta RS WRC +04m 41.8s M
6. Martin Prokop Jipocar Czech Ford Fiesta RS WRC +06m 05.3s M
7. Henning Solberg Adapta Motorsport Ford Fiesta RS WRC +07m 15.8s
8. Robert Kubica RK M-Sport WRT Ford Fiesta RS WRC +12m 19.0s M
9. Lorenzo Bertelli Ford Fiesta RRC +15m 22.1s WRC2
10. Khalid Al Qassimi Citroen Total Abu Dhabi WRT DS3 WRC +16m 49.3s
[Image Source: Volkswagen Motorsport and WRC.com]