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Rally Italy: Sebastien Ogier extends lead, Thierry Neuville stars

Sebastien Ogier WRC 2013Sebastien Ogier stormed into a 42-second Rally Italy lead on Friday afternoon, as Thierry Neuville starred.

World Rally Championship leader Ogier took it easy through the first two stages of the second loop to save his Volkswagen's tyres for the 31 kilometres of Monte Lerno.

That was where Ogier unleashed his full pace, going eight seconds quicker than the best non-VW.

In Ogier's wake, Neuville was grabbing the attention with two stage wins in his M-Sport Ford.

That brought the Belgian up from a quiet fifth to third, just four seconds behind Mikko Hirvonen's Citroen.

Hirvonen was generally delighted with his car, but puzzled by why his front tyres wore so badly whatever he tried. That accounted for the 42s deficit to Ogier.

Neuville's progress demoted his team-mate Mads Ostberg and Citroen's Dani Sordo to fourth and fifth as the afternoon progressed.

Jari-Matti Latvala was not far off his VW team-mate Ogier's pace as he continued to recover from his morning puncture.

Although still seventh, he has got the gap to third VW driver Andreas Mikkelsen's sixth place down to 33s.

Robert Kubica, running 11th overall, has now got his WRC 2 lead to almost two minutes.

Day one is not over yet as crews will head out for two evening stages after service.

Leading positions after SS6:

Pos  Driver              Team/Car        Time/Gap
 1.  Sebastien Ogier     VW            1h19m05.6s
 2.  Mikko Hirvonen      Citroen           +42.4s
 3.  Thierry Neuville    M-Sport Ford      +47.1s
 4.  Mads Ostberg        M-Sport Ford      +54.3s
 5.  Dani Sordo          Citroen         +1m00.4s
 6.  Andreas Mikkelsen   VW              +1m27.8s
 7.  Jari-Matti Latvala  VW              +2m00.8s
 8.  Martin Prokop       Czech Ford      +3m54.1s
 9.  Michal Kosciuszko   Lotos Ford      +5m07.3s
10.  Elfyn Evans         M-Sport Ford    +5m14.3s
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