Sardinia WRC: Tanak holds comfortable lead from Sordo

Ott Tanak has opened up a comfortable lead over Hyundai team-mate Dani Sordo after winning five of the eight stages on a brutal opening day at Rally Sardinia.

Sardinia WRC: Tanak holds comfortable lead from Sordo

After dominating the morning loop, the Hyundai driver reeled off another series of impressive stage times, making the most of his favourable road position on the rough and slippery gravel roads.

The Estonian heads into Saturday with a 19.4s lead over team-mate and two-time Sardinia winner Sordo, who with Hyundai team-mate Thierry Neuville, prevented him from recording a clean sweep of stage wins.

Sordo’s triumph in Stage 6 allowed the Spaniard to regain second overall after briefly losing out to Toyota’s Sebastien Ogier. He then extended his advantage with a win on the next stage, leaving the reigning world champion only 36.2s adrift remarkably, despite having to sweep the roads.

"I think it's been a very good day for us. We can be happy with it,” said Ogier.

“There was of course no chance to fight with Ott, but dominating Elfyn [Evans] and Thierry was of course really good for us."

Drama struck Neuville on the penultimate stage as a right rear puncture cost him valuable time, handing fourth overall to Elfyn Evans, who has struggled to find the sweet spot in his Toyota.

Neuville did fight back in the final stage clawing back some much needed time as he shared the stage win with Sordo, as the pair set identical times.

Thierry Neuville, Martijn Wydaeghe, Hyundai Motorsport Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC

Thierry Neuville, Martijn Wydaeghe, Hyundai Motorsport Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC

Photo by: Austral / Hyundai Motorsport

"Unfortunately not our day. We struggled in the first two stages, but then we had a lot of trouble and two punctures without hitting anything and staying in the middle of the road,” said Neuville, who is 1.2s adrift of fourth placed Evans.

"We could have probably closed in the gap to Ogier without the puncture, and a stall in the last stage now. Quite a lot of things we have to sort."

Tanak continued from where he left off in the morning as he claimed his fifth stage win in a row after taking out the first run through the slippery Tempio Pausania 1, (12.08km).

The 2019 world champion completed the pass 4.9s faster than Ogier, who jumped to second overall, after Sordo dropped 10.2s to rally leader Tanak and could only finish fifth fastest.

Neuville was among those frustrated by the loose surface but was only 5.7s shy of Tanak, while Evans was fourth quickest.

Tanak’s run of stage wins came to halt on Stage 6 Erula - Tula (14.97km) when Sordo came to the fore.
The Spaniard managed to defeat Tanak by 1.8s and with Ogier dropping 7.3s, as Sordo regained second overall from the reigning world champion.

Neuville was lucky to only drop a couple of seconds when he nudged a gate on his way to fourth just 0.5s quicker than Evans who was improving, but was still struggling to lean on his Yaris.

"I couldn't rotate the car, and there was a small gate. I went into neutral and had to re-engage gear, I lost a few seconds. I felt like I did a good stage without the mistake,” said Neuville.

The Hyundai driver was not so lucky on the second run through Tempio Pausania as a right rear puncture, caused by hitting a bank meant he lost 18.7s to Evans. It handed fourth overall to the Welshman.

The top of the times belonged to the other two Hyundai drivers as Sordo notched up his second win of the day, beating Tanak by three tenths of a second.

Neuville responded to share the final stage honours with Sordo, despite stalling the car and suffering a second puncture. Tanak was 5.6s back in third ahead of Ogier and Evans, who was left frustrated.

Elfyn Evans, Toyota Gazoo Racing

Elfyn Evans, Toyota Gazoo Racing

Photo by: McKlein / Motorsport Images

“We wanted more from the day. We're still here, but not as quickly as we would have liked to be here,” said Evans.

There was late trouble for seventh-placed M-Sport’s Gus Greensmith as a gearbox issue at the start forced the Briton to limp to the finish.

In WRC2, Mads Ostberg (Citroen) ended the day with a commanding 2m03s lead over Marco Bulacia, who lost 16s due to a spin in Stage 6.

One of the pre-event contenders Andreas Mikkelsen was forced to retire from the event after his Toksport Skoda sustained damage to the roll cage following his roll on Stage 4 this morning.

Rally Sardinia continues on Saturday with a further eight special stages beginning at 0708 BST.

WRC Rally Sardinia: Overall results after SS8

Cla Driver/Codriver Car Gap
1 Estonia Ott Tanak
Estonia Martin Jarveoja
Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC  
2 Spain Dani Sordo
Borja Rozada
Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC 19.400
3 France Sébastien Ogier
France Julien Ingrassia
Toyota Yaris WRC 36.200
4 United Kingdom Elfyn Evans
United Kingdom Scott Martin
Toyota Yaris WRC 1'02.000
5 Belgium Thierry Neuville
Belgium Martijn Wydaeghe
Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC 1'03.200
6 Japan Takamoto Katsuta
United Kingdom Daniel Barritt
Toyota Yaris WRC 1'26.100
7 Norway Mads Ostberg
Norway Torstein Eriksen
Citroën C3 Rally2 3'41.700
8 Finland Jari Huttunen
Mikko Lukka
Hyundai i20 R5 4'08.700
9 France Yohan Rossel
Alexandre Coria
Citroën C3 Rally2 4'35.800
10 Spain Pepe Lopez
Diego Vallejo
Škoda Fabia Rally2 evo 4'52.100
shares
comments

Related video

Sardinia WRC: Tanak blitzes morning, Rovanpera and Suninen hit trouble
Previous article

Sardinia WRC: Tanak blitzes morning, Rovanpera and Suninen hit trouble

Next article

WRC Sardinia leader Tanak "quite lucky" after tyre scare on final stage

WRC Sardinia leader Tanak "quite lucky" after tyre scare on final stage
How Rovanpera has reignited Finland's rallying obsession Plus

How Rovanpera has reignited Finland's rallying obsession

Finland may have a small population, but it has long enjoyed rallying success. Now that the nation has a new star to cheer in the form of Kalle Rovanpera, interest in the discipline is surging once again

WRC
Aug 10, 2022
How Tanak spoiled Rovanpera’s Finnish homecoming Plus

How Tanak spoiled Rovanpera’s Finnish homecoming

Kalle Rovanpera and Toyota went into Rally Finland as overwhelming favourites but came away as runners-up to a resurgent Ott Tanak and Hyundai. While it may have dampened the homecoming party, it still moved the Finn closer to the ultimate World Rally Championship prize

WRC
Aug 8, 2022
Inside Hyundai’s F1-spec mobile WRC home Plus

Inside Hyundai’s F1-spec mobile WRC home

Hyundai is one of the World Rally Championship's big three, and has a brand-new travelling facility befitting of that status. The team invited Autosport for a behind-the-scenes look at its state-of-the-art HQ, which comes complete with all the bells and whistles you'd expect of a top Formula 1 outfit

WRC
Jul 27, 2022
How Rovanpera's latest Estonia masterclass left his WRC rivals stumped Plus

How Rovanpera's latest Estonia masterclass left his WRC rivals stumped

After trailing Toyota team-mate Elfyn Evans for much of Rally Estonia's opening day, WRC points leader Kalle Rovanpera took advantage of a change in the weather and never looked back afterwards. Winning for a fifth time this year at the scene of his 2021 breakthrough, and with a breathtaking powerstage bonus for good measure, his advantage is already looking difficult to topple

WRC
Jul 18, 2022
How the WRC captures its stunning visuals Plus

How the WRC captures its stunning visuals

Whether it’s the mountains of Monte Carlo, the snow of Sweden or the Kenya Savannah, the World Rally Championship is able to beam some of motorsport’s most spectacular footage to television screens while operating in the harshest of environments. Autosport went behind the scenes to unearth the secrets that make this logistical challenge possible

WRC
Jul 7, 2022
Why WRC's Safari tour is more than just a rally Plus

Why WRC's Safari tour is more than just a rally

OPINION: A source of national pride in Kenya, the Safari Rally is also a sporting, cultural and economic phenomenon. And as last weekend's World Rally Championship round reminded us, it's a key driver in establishing Africa’s place in world motorsport

WRC
Jun 29, 2022
How Rovanpera tamed a wild Safari Rally Plus

How Rovanpera tamed a wild Safari Rally

The Safari Rally acted as a brutal test of driver and car resolve as multiple retirements opened the path for a historic Toyota 1-2-3-4 triumph, headed by star Kalle Rovanpera. But keeping things clean was only half of the challenge, as a well-timed charge when conditions worsened allowed the Finn to take control

WRC
Jun 27, 2022
How Tanak turned the tables to deliver Hyundai a timely WRC triumph Plus

How Tanak turned the tables to deliver Hyundai a timely WRC triumph

The 2019 champion has been a bit-part player recently, but Ott Tanak ended a 15-month drought in fine style with a dominant win in Sardinia. On a weekend when championship leader Kalle Rovanpera struggled with cleaning the road, his Hyundai rival has made his belated arrival into the title race and given cause for those predicting a walkover from the Toyota star to pause

WRC
Jun 6, 2022