WRC Italy: Mikko Hirvonen storms clear after Sebastien Loeb exits

Mikko Hirvonen is upholding Citroen honour in Italy by storming away with the lead after team-mate Sebastien Loeb's retirement

WRC Italy: Mikko Hirvonen storms clear after Sebastien Loeb exits

Loeb started Friday leading Hirvonen by just one second, but then went off and damaged his Citroen on the first stage of the day. The world champion reckoned a misjudged pace note led to the crash.

That left Hirvonen leading by 15s over Ford's Petter Solberg. As tyre wear became a major issue through the morning, Hirvonen was able to start edging clear, bringing his lead up to 25.8s after SS5.

Hirvonen and Solberg are the only frontrunners still in contention.

Already on the back foot after his Thursday delays, Jari-Matti Latvala then crashed on stage four, damaging his Ford's radiator and having to retire.

Thierry Neuville went off on the same stage as Loeb, ending his podium challenge. The Citroen Junior driver managed to get his DS3 upright again - injuring his hands in the process - but the engine had lost too much oil and he had to stop on the following road section.

Although Mads Ostberg is currently third in the Adapta Ford, he has been badly hampered by tyre wear and what he suspected was a further problem with the car. He is now only 7s ahead of the flying Evgeny Novikov.

Novikov looked like he was on course for a stage win on Tergu-Osilo, until being deposed by a remarkable performance from Sebastien Ogier in Volkswagen's S2000 Skoda.

Ogier holds seventh overall, behind Ott Tanak and Chris Atkinson, and just ahead of team-mate Andreas Mikkelsen.

Showing how much better the S2000 cars were handling tyre wear, Karl Kruuda was third quickest on SS5.

Leading positions after SS5: Pos Driver Team/Car Time/Gap 1. Mikko Hirvonen Citroen 1h17m30.9s 2. Petter Solberg Ford + 25.8s 3. Mads Ostberg Adapta Ford + 1m05.6s 4. Evgeny Novikov M-Sport Ford + 1m12.9s 5. Ott Tanak M-Sport Ford + 2m07.9s 6. Chris Atkinson Italia Mini + 2m54.1s 7. Sebastien Ogier VW Skoda + 2m58.4s 8. Andreas Mikkelsen VW Skoda + 3m36.3s 9. Martin Prokop Czech Ford + 3m43.9s 10. Karl Kruuda ME3 Ford + 5m08.3s 
shares
comments
WRC teams call for safety changes for Rally d'Italia

Previous article

WRC teams call for safety changes for Rally d'Italia

Next article

Rally Italia: Mikko Hirvonen dominating after Petter Solberg crashes

Rally Italia: Mikko Hirvonen dominating after Petter Solberg crashes
Load comments

About this article

Series WRC
Drivers Sébastien Loeb , Mikko Hirvonen
Author Matt Beer
Why there's no easy fix for Hyundai's operational Achilles Heel Plus

Why there's no easy fix for Hyundai's operational Achilles Heel

Hyundai Motorsport boss Andrea Adamo was vocal in his criticism of his team's tyre choices on Rally Croatia and declared that he "had better move my ass and solve it". Doing so will be vital to getting Hyundai's 2021 WRC title hopes back on track, but finding the root of the problem won't be the work of a moment

WRC
Apr 28, 2021
How Ogier held on after a shock bump in the road to triumph in Croatia Plus

How Ogier held on after a shock bump in the road to triumph in Croatia

Sebastien Ogier was already in an incredibly tight fight at Rally Croatia before a surprise collision with public road traffic at the start of the final day. But the defending champion held his nerve to take a narrow victory and create further World Rally Championship history

WRC
Apr 26, 2021
Why the casualty of rallying's evolution should still be cherished Plus

Why the casualty of rallying's evolution should still be cherished

The WRC's support categories are in a process of streamlining that will spell the end of a formalised 2WD world championship-level category. While its relevance to the top level has been questioned for some time, that doesn't mean it should be swept quietly under the carpet

WRC
Apr 5, 2021
Why WRC's hybrid path could leave it at a crossroads Plus

Why WRC's hybrid path could leave it at a crossroads

With all three major manufacturers committing to the World Rally Championship’s hybrid era from 2022, the future of the series is assured for now, but it could lead to trickier twists and turns further down the road

WRC
Apr 1, 2021
How Tanak froze out the competition at the Arctic Rally Plus

How Tanak froze out the competition at the Arctic Rally

Ott Tanak made up for a disastrous Monte Carlo Rally by leading all the way on the snow-kissed stages of the Arctic Rally Finland and in the process hit back at an event Toyota had been expected to dominate

WRC
Mar 1, 2021
What to expect from the WRC's venture to the Arctic Plus

What to expect from the WRC's venture to the Arctic

This week's Arctic Rally Finland will bring the World Rally Championship into new territory. And, almost without exception, the service park can't wait for the subzero challenge to commence

WRC
Feb 25, 2021
How Ogier achieved a fitting Monte Carlo farewell Plus

How Ogier achieved a fitting Monte Carlo farewell

Against pandemic-shaped odds, the World Rally Championship season opener went ahead in Monte Carlo last weekend as a familiar face again took top spot. But for an emotional Sebastien Ogier, his record-breaking eighth win meant more than most

WRC
Jan 25, 2021
What to look out for in the 2021 WRC Plus

What to look out for in the 2021 WRC

As the 2021 World Rally Championship prepares to launch amid tight COVID-19 restrictions in Monte Carlo, here are the eight things unrelated to the pandemic that you should keep an eye on this year

WRC
Jan 21, 2021