WRC Italy: Sebastien Ogier beats Hyundai pair to Rally Italy win

Sebastien Ogier claimed his fourth World Rally Championship win in six events in a bruising Rally Italy led for most of its distance by Hyundai's Hayden Paddon

WRC Italy: Sebastien Ogier beats Hyundai pair to Rally Italy win

The proved punishing, with Ogier the only World Rally Car runner to get through the entire weekend without some form of mechanical drama or driver error.

Paddon made the most of running late in the order on the very dusty roads to take the lead on Friday, though even Ogier had plenty of praise for the Kiwi's pace.

Even when Paddon's road position advantage over Ogier was less pronounced, Volkswagen's world champion was often only able to gain small amounts of time.

Ogier suspected the second run of the Saturday stages would be his best opportunity, and it proved easier than he expected as a quick spin by Paddon dropped the Hyundai to second before Ogier's charge had really begun.

Paddon then had a major scare when an impact with a rock caused transmission damage and left him struggling through the day's longest stages.

He managed to keep the time loss around two minutes and didn't even lose second place, such was the rate of attrition behind.

Mads Ostberg, regaining ground after a puzzling lack of pace on Friday, was poised to take second from Paddon before his second puncture of Saturday.

He was still on course for third for Citroen before a mistake on Sunday's first stage left him limping to the finish with a damaged car and dropping to fifth.

That meant two Hyundais completed the podium behind Ogier, as Thierry Neuville - who had twice needed to carry out improvisational roadside repairs following technical problems - backed up Paddon's runner-up spot with third place.

Elfyn Evans spent much of Friday in two-wheel drive mode thanks to transmission trouble, but persisted and was rewarded with fourth.

M-Sport should've had a podium, though - Ott Tanak was in a very comfortable third behind Ogier and Paddon mid-way through Saturday only to get stuck in gear and retire.

Ogier's trouble-free weekend - which included maximum powerstage points too - was in stark contrast to his VW team-mates Jari-Matti Latvala and Andreas Mikkelsen.

Suspension-breaking incidents on both Friday and Saturday wrecked Mikkelsen's weekend, but Latvala looked best-placed to chase down Paddon at one stage.

That was before three separate car-damaging incidents that combined to leave him eight minutes off the lead.

He still managed to finish in the top six, almost overhauling the devastated Ostberg on the powerstage.

Kris Meeke, Dani Sordo and Robert Kubica all had incidents on Friday that put them out of the hunt for points, while transmission troubles added to punctures put Martin Prokop out.

WRC2 came down to the final stage. Local hero Paolo Andreucci's lead was lost on Saturday afternoon when he had to stop to close his Peugeot's boot, but he fought back and caught Yuriy Protasov again.

They swapped places twice more before going into the powerstage just half a second apart, with Protasov managing to stay ahead and win the class, taking seventh overall too.

LEADING FINISHERS AFTER SS23:

-

LEADING POWERSTAGE TIMES:

Pos Driver Team Car Gap
1 Sebastien Ogier, J.Ingrassia Volkswagen Motorsport Volkswagen 7m15.9s
2 Jari-Matti Latvala, M.Anttila Volkswagen Motorsport Volkswagen 3.8s
3 Andreas Mikkelsen, O.Floene Volkswagen Motorsport II Volkswagen 4.1s
4 Ott Tanak, R.Molder M-Sport World Rally Team Ford 6.3s
5 Elfyn Evans, D.Barritt M-Sport World Rally Team Ford 12.8s

CHAMPIONSHIP STANDINGS:

Pos Driver Points
1 Sebastien Ogier 133
2 Mads Ostberg 67
3 Andreas Mikkelsen 64
4 Jari-Matti Latvala 56
5 Elfyn Evans 53
6 Thierry Neuville 50
7 Kris Meeke 47
8 Dani Sordo 38
9 Hayden Paddon 32
10 Martin Prokop 27
11 Ott Tanak 22
12 Khalid Al-Qassimi 9
13 Yuriy Protasov 8
14 Abdulaziz Al-Kuwari 6
15 Nasser Al-Attiyah 6
16 Sebastien Loeb 6
17 Paolo Andreucci 4
17 Diego Dominguez 4
19 Nicolas Fuchs 2
20 Robert Kubica 2
21 Gustavo Saba 2
21 Jan Kopecky 2
23 Jari Ketomaa 1
24 Federico Villagra 1

shares
comments
WRC Rally Italy: Volkswagen's Sebastien Ogier leads amid more drama

Previous article

WRC Rally Italy: Volkswagen's Sebastien Ogier leads amid more drama

Next article

Hayden Paddon eyes Rally Australia for first WRC win after podium

Hayden Paddon eyes Rally Australia for first WRC win after podium
Load comments
Does Neuville have a point with his Rally1 rant? Plus

Does Neuville have a point with his Rally1 rant?

OPINION: Thierry Neuville's diatribe against the upcoming Rally1-spec machines that will usher in the World Rally Championship's new hybrid era was remarkable in an era where drivers are usually reticent to air their views in public. But are the Belgian's concerns about speed, safety and cost entirely valid?

WRC
Sep 16, 2021
How the WRC's new flying Finn reached new heights in the Greek mountains Plus

How the WRC's new flying Finn reached new heights in the Greek mountains

After Kalle Rovanpera’s historic feat at Rally Estonia, the Finn scaled new heights at the Rally of the Gods with a commanding victory. And this time Toyota’s young star demonstrated why the future is bright with his devastating speed and consistency at the Acropolis Rally

WRC
Sep 13, 2021
The WRC drivers that came of age at the Acropolis Rally Plus

The WRC drivers that came of age at the Acropolis Rally

Five drivers have won first time out at the Rally Acropolis, transcending the tough dirt and gravel Greek roads to cement a place in rallying folklore. Here are three of the first-time winners' tales

WRC
Sep 9, 2021
Understanding Suninen’s sudden WRC exit gamble Plus

Understanding Suninen’s sudden WRC exit gamble

From being considered a likely contender to drive the next-generation M-Sport Ford Puma in 2022, Teemu Suninen's abrupt exit has created plenty of questions. The Finn's bid to become his country's next World Rally Championship winner won't be furthered by being sidelined, but there may be reason behind the decision

WRC
Sep 2, 2021
Could Spa’s cameo offer the WRC a new avenue to exploit? Plus

Could Spa’s cameo offer the WRC a new avenue to exploit?

OPINION: The Ypres Rally featured a cameo from the Spa-Francorchamps circuit in its final stage, giving WRC teams the chance to experience its iconic corners in rallying machinery. It proved to be an engaging addition to the rally, and could perhaps serve as an example for other events to visit famous circuits

WRC
Aug 24, 2021
How Hyundai's home hero delivered overdue WRC success in Belgium Plus

How Hyundai's home hero delivered overdue WRC success in Belgium

With limited recent fortune and pressure starting to mount, Hyundai needed a big result at the Ypres Rally. All the key components came together in Belgium to see home hero Thierry Neuville lead a manufacturer 1-2 and kickstart its World Rally Championship challenge

WRC
Aug 16, 2021
The new car that can resurrect Ford's WRC winning pedigree Plus

The new car that can resurrect Ford's WRC winning pedigree

M-Sport has become the first to unveil its new-for-2022 hybrid World Rally Championship challenger, the Puma Rally1. Ford has upped its support in a bid for glory, but can the new machine roll back the years and return the Blue Oval to the top of the WRC tree?

WRC
Aug 12, 2021
The rookie WRC driver aiming to continue Loeb and Ogier's legacies Plus

The rookie WRC driver aiming to continue Loeb and Ogier's legacies

French drivers have dominated the World Rally Championship across the past two decades; Sebastiens Loeb and Ogier have racked up the titles in commanding fashion. With Ogier calling it a day on full-time WRC competition from next year, France will pin its long-term hopes on rookie Adrien Fourmaux, who looks to have a bright future.

WRC
Aug 7, 2021