Latvala takes early Sardinia lead

Jari-Matti Latvala has taken an early lead in the Rally Sardinia, benefiting from his road position to pull out a 14.6-second advantage over Sebastien Loeb through the first three stages

Latvala takes early Sardinia lead

Latvala's incident-packed start to 2009 has left him only seventh in the championship at present - and therefore seventh onto the dusty stages this morning.

The cleaner surface helped him to take two stage victories and head the field, despite a few issues with his Ford.

"I'm not so happy at the moment," Latvala admitted after SS2. "I have a problem with the braking where it feels like the engine wants to stall, and it's affecting my driving quite a lot."

Ford held a one-two for the first two stages with Latvala and team-mate Mikko Hirvonen, the latter lacking confidence on the slippery roads, but Loeb put his Citroen between them with a good time on SS3.

"It's very slippery and being first on the road is very difficult, but that's how it is," said the championship leader.

Petter Solberg holds fourth in his Citroen Xsara, despite huge frustration on the first stage when his engine began to overheat and went into a conservative setting while matching the works Fords' pace.

"It's terrible - bloody hell, we would have won the stage easily," he raged at the end of SS1.

Petter Solberg holds fourth in his Citroen Xsara, despite huge frustration on the first stage when his engine began to overheat and went into a conservative setting while matching the works Fords' pace.

"It's terrible - bloody hell, we would have won the stage easily," he raged at the end of SS1.

Citroen number two Dani Sordo is already a minute behind the leaders. He picked up a penalty for being late into the first stage - insisting this was due to a turbo problem rather than, as Hirvonen suspected, early tactics - and then lost more time when he hit a large rock and damaged a damper on SS3. He currently holds ninth place.

Fifth place is being disputed by Citroen Junior duo Sebastien Ogier and Evgeny Novikov, who both made very strong starts to the event. Ogier took the place from his team-mate with a rapid time on SS3, while Adapta Subaru's Mads Ostberg is closing on both of them, despite being uneasy about the car's handling.

Stobart Ford's Henning Solberg fell from an initial fifth place to eighth as others got into their stride, the Norwegian admitting that it was taking him a while to settle into the rally and his set-up. His team-mate Matthew Wilson is nearly two minutes adrift of the leaders after hydraulic problems this morning.

Leading positions after SS3:

Pos Driver Car Time 1. Jari-Matti Latvala Ford 42m40.2s 2. Sebastien Loeb Citroen + 14.6s 3. Mikko Hirvonen Ford + 18.3s 4. Petter Solberg Citroen + 21.2s 5. Sebastien Ogier Citroen + 26.2s 6. Evgeny Novikov Citroen + 32.0s 7. Mads Ostberg Subaru + 33.1s 8. Henning Solberg Ford + 38.0s 9. Dani Sordo Citroen +1m02.4s 10. Khalid Al Qassimi Ford +1m24.8s 
shares
comments
Rally GB back on 2010 WRC schedule
Previous article

Rally GB back on 2010 WRC schedule

Next article

Latvala handed big lead by tactics

Latvala handed big lead by tactics
Load comments
How WRC legend Ogier will be remembered by his peers Plus

How WRC legend Ogier will be remembered by his peers

After winning his eighth WRC title, Sebastien Ogier has drawn the curtain on his full-time rallying career. To understand Ogier's legacy, many of his former rivals, team-mates and colleagues have shared their thoughts on a vastly successful career

WRC
Nov 26, 2021
Ranking lost WRC legend Richard Burns' 10 best rallies Plus

Ranking lost WRC legend Richard Burns' 10 best rallies

Richard Burns was a determined driver who took on the best rally drivers in the world during a boom period in the early 2000s, and beat them. On the 20th anniversary of his crowning glory in winning the 2001 WRC title, and 16 years on from his death on the same date, Autosport picks out his 10 greatest drives

WRC
Nov 25, 2021
The internal focus that made Burns a legendary world rally champion Plus

The internal focus that made Burns a legendary world rally champion

At the turn of the millennium, WRC was full to the brim with rallying's great and good - and 20 years ago on this day, Richard Burns became England's first world rally champion. Although Burns' natural talent drove him to the top, his steely determination and mental strength was the key attribute behind his title-winning form

WRC
Nov 25, 2021
How Ogier emerged out of Loeb's shadow to form his own WRC legend Plus

How Ogier emerged out of Loeb's shadow to form his own WRC legend

OPINION: Adding an eighth WRC title to his name, Sebastien Ogier has bowed out from full-time rallying in style. Having been compared throughout his career with nine-time champion Sebastien Loeb, Ogier has convincingly demonstrated that he can stand on his own as one of the greatest rally drivers in history

WRC
Nov 22, 2021
How confronting self-doubt drove Ogier to become a WRC legend Plus

How confronting self-doubt drove Ogier to become a WRC legend

This weekend's Rally Monza marks the end of an era in the World Rally Championship, as Sebastien Ogier prepares to bring down the curtain on his full-time career with an eighth title. For all his enduring success, the Toyota driver reveals in an exclusive interview that lingering insecurities have compelled his quest for perfection

WRC
Nov 18, 2021
The third generation McRae on his way to the WRC Plus

The third generation McRae on his way to the WRC

The McRae family name is steeped in rallying history, with eight British titles between Jimmy, Colin and Alister - plus the small matter of the 1995 WRC title too. Next on the conveyor of talent is Alister's 17-year-old Max McRae, who’s setting out in Australia to conquer the world of rallying and return the famous name to the WRC...

WRC
Nov 12, 2021
Inside Hyundai’s radical approach to prepare for the WRC hybrid era Plus

Inside Hyundai’s radical approach to prepare for the WRC hybrid era

As the World Rally Championship undergoes its biggest shift in regulations for a generation, teams are taking radical measures to prepare for its new era. Hyundai's unique approach involved conducting a private 1500km rally in Italy and Autosport went to see how the team is preparing for 2022

WRC
Nov 4, 2021
How Neuville stole the show from Ogier vs Evans slugfest in Spain Plus

How Neuville stole the show from Ogier vs Evans slugfest in Spain

While all pre-event chat focused on the two World Rally Championship title fighters, their closest challenger charged into the spotlight on Rally Spain. Thierry Neuville's star turn and another strong drive from Elfyn Evans in his fight with Sebastien Ogier made for an intriguing event as the 2021 campaign nears its crunch point

WRC
Oct 18, 2021