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Stage report
WRC Rally Italy

WRC Sardinia: Tanak holds commanding lead amid red flag confusion

Hyundai’s Ott Tanak moved into a commanding Rally Sardinia lead after dominating Saturday’s stages before a red flag triggered confusion on the final test.

Ott Tänak, Martin Järveoja, Hyundai World Rally Team Hyundai i20 N Rally1

The 2019 world champion won six of the day’s eight stages to move into a 46s lead over M-Sport’s Craig Breen, before the final stage of the day ended in bizarre fashion.

Officials threw the red flag to suspend Stage 17 to allow the recovery of Adrien Fourmaux’s stricken M-Sport Ford Puma after the Frenchman ran off the road and crashed out of fifth position. The crew emerged from the incident unscathed.

Third-placed Dani Sordo was first to come across the incident. The Hyundai driver then squeezed by the stricken Puma that had partially blocked the road and completed the stage at a reduced speed and will receive a notional time.

Organisers elected to restart the stage but it appeared a marshal erroneously showed a red flag, resulting in Breen and Tanak slowing to a crawl.

Fourth-placed Pierre-Louis Loubet, who was ahead of Breen and Tanak on the road, completed the stage at normal speed to add to the confusion. It is unclear if the M-Sport driver was shown the red flag.

It is expected national times will be awarded to Breen and Tanak, but organisers are yet to confirm the overall classification for the day. Championship leader Kalle Rovanpera and Toyota team-mate Takamoto Katsuta will however inherit fifth and sixth positions following Fourmaux’s crash.

A brief statement from an FIA spokesperson read: “After the stage restarted following Fourmaux's accident crews were shown a red flag and the FIA is investigation the incident."

Craig Breen, Paul Nagle, M-Sport Ford World Rally Team Ford Puma Rally1

Craig Breen, Paul Nagle, M-Sport Ford World Rally Team Ford Puma Rally1

Photo by: M-Sport

The afternoon had begun with crews facing incredibly hot conditions in the afternoon with the ambient temperatures hitting more than 35 degrees on top of the already increased cockpit temperatures.

The heat failed to distract Tanak as he swept to his fourth consecutive stage win on Stage 14 after setting a searing pace in his i20 N, despite battling an engine issue.

Tanak emerged 6.2s faster than an improving Kalle Rovanpera to extend his lead over Breen to 37.2s as the latter was forced to drive around a problem with his Puma.

Loubet stepped up his assault on third overall by taking 2.3s out of rival Sordo.

Behind, a soft front left tyre cost Fourmaux 34s dropping as he began to fall into the clutches of Rovanpera in the battle for fifth overall.

Tanak was once again in command on Stage 15 as he notched up his sixth stage win of the rally to increase his lead to 45.0s over Breen as the Irishman dropped 7.8s.

Breen had been battling issue but gave nothing away when quizzed at the stage end.

“The giggling pin fell out of the laughing shaft but I managed to get it back in, so we are okay,” he joked when asked about the problem.

Dani Sordo, Candido Carrera, Hyundai World Rally Team Hyundai i20 N Rally1

Dani Sordo, Candido Carrera, Hyundai World Rally Team Hyundai i20 N Rally1

Photo by: Red Bull Content Pool

Sordo survived a scare 300 metres from the stage end when his i20 N briefly hooked into a ditch on the slippery gravel. However, the Spaniard somehow wrestled the car back to clock the second fastest stage time to move within 12s of Breen.

Katsuta, like Breen, was also managing a radiator issue with his GR Yaris and lost 30s on the test.

The second pass through the afternoon stages saw Tanak remain in unbeaten as he topped the times on Stage 16.

Tanak admitted he wasn’t pushing but was still able to take a second out of Breen to deny the Ford driver a second stage win of the event.

Sordo rode his luck again after his i20 N took a big gulp of water at the water splash and briefly stalled. On this occasion he only lost 1.6s to Loubet in the fight for third.

Evans however suffered fare more serious issue as the left rear suspension collapsed on his GR Yaris which put him tint retirement for the second time in as many days. The Welshman tried to keep going before pulling off onto an access road.

Toyota team-mate Katsuta continued to lose time as he carefully nursed his wounded GR Yaris to the finish.

Rally Sardinia is set to host four more stages on Sunday.

Results:

Cla Driver/Codriver Car Total Time Gap Interval
1 Estonia Ott Tanak
Estonia Martin Jarveoja
Hyundai i20 N Rally1 2:32'17.300    
2 Ireland Craig Breen
Ireland Paul Nagle
Ford Puma Rally1 2:33'03.300 46.000 46.000
3 Spain Dani Sordo
Candido Carrera
Hyundai i20 N Rally1 2:33'24.100 1'06.800 20.800
4 France Pierre-Louis Loubet
France Vincent Landais
Ford Puma Rally1 2:33'37.600 1'20.300 13.500
5 France Adrien Fourmaux
Alexandre Coria
Ford Puma Rally1 2:34'31.200 2'13.900 53.600
6 Finland Kalle Rovanperä
Finland Jonne Halttunen
Toyota GR Yaris Rally1 2:34'40.500 2'23.200 9.300
7 Japan Takamoto Katsuta
Aaron Johnston
Toyota GR Yaris Rally1 2:35'58.700 3'41.400 1'18.200
8 United Kingdom Gus Greensmith
Sweden Jonas Andersson
Ford Puma Rally1 2:37'09.100 4'51.800 1'10.400
9 Russian Federation Nikolay Gryazin
Konstantin Aleksandrov
Škoda Fabia Rally2 evo 2:38'11.800 5'54.500 1'02.700
10 Jan Solans
Rodrigo Sanjuan
Citroën C3 Rally2 2:38'56.300 6'39.000 44.500
11 Finland Jari Huttunen
Mikko Lukka
Ford Fiesta Rally2 2:39'03.700 6'46.400 7.400
12 Chris Ingram
United Kingdom Craig Drew
Škoda Fabia Rally2 evo 2:39'04.200 6'46.900 0.500
13 Bolivia Marco Bulacia
Argentina Marcelo Der Ohannesian
Škoda Fabia Rally2 evo 2:39'13.500 6'56.200 9.300
14 Sami Pajari
Enni Mälkönen
Škoda Fabia Rally2 evo 2:39'35.200 7'17.900 21.700
15 Eerik Pietarinen
Finland Antti Linnaketo
Volkswagen Polo GTI R5 2:40'11.500 7'54.200 36.300
16 Emilio Fernández
Axel Coronado
Škoda Fabia Rally2 evo 2:41'18.600 9'01.300 1'07.100
17 Mikołaj Marczyk
Poland Szymon Gospodarczyk
Škoda Fabia Rally2 evo 2:41'29.700 9'12.400 11.100
18 Bruno Bulacia
Spain Marc Marti
Škoda Fabia Rally2 evo 2:43'06.200 10'48.900 1'36.500
19 Czech Republic Martin Prokop
Michal Ernst
Ford Fiesta Rally2 2:43'52.800 11'35.500 46.600
20 Freddy Loix
Pieter Tsjoen
Škoda Fabia Rally2 evo 2:44'58.200 12'40.900 1'05.400
21 Rakan Al-Rashed
Hugo Magalhaes
Volkswagen Polo GTI R5 2:45'54.900 13'37.600 56.700
22 France Yohan Rossel
France Valentin Sarreaud
Citroën C3 Rally2 2:48'43.800 16'26.500 2'48.900
23 Greece Jourdan Serderidis
Frédéric Miclotte
Škoda Fabia Rally2 evo 2:49'04.600 16'47.300 20.800
24 France Jean-Michel Raoux
France Laurent Magat
Volkswagen Polo GTI R5 2:49'50.800 17'33.500 46.200
25 Eduard Pons
Alberto Chamorro
Škoda Fabia Rally2 evo 2:50'43.100 18'25.800 52.300
26 Diego Jr.
Spain Rogelio Penate
Ford Fiesta Rally3 2:51'41.400 19'24.100 58.300
27 Pablo Biolghini
Stefano Pudda
Škoda Fabia Rally2 evo 2:51'49.300 19'32.000 7.900
28 Silvano Patera
Danilo Fappani
Škoda Fabia Rally2 evo 2:55'34.800 23'17.500 3'45.500
29 Czech Republic Jan Černý
Tomáš Střeska
Ford Fiesta Rally3 2:56'14.100 23'56.800 39.300
30 Gabriele Campagnoli
Nicola Arena
Ford Fiesta Rally3 2:57'45.300 25'28.000 1'31.200
31 Zoltán László
Tamás Kürti
Ford Fiesta Rally3 2:58'00.400 25'43.100 15.100
32 Daniel Chwist
Kamil Heller
Škoda Fabia Rally2 evo 2:59'10.700 26'53.400 1'10.300
33 Luke Anear
Andrew Sarandis
Ford Fiesta Rally2 3:02'43.100 30'25.800 3'32.400
34 Giuseppe Messori
Pier Paolo
Škoda Fabia R5 3:05'57.400 33'40.100 3'14.300
35 Francesco Tali
Cristina Caldart
Ford Fiesta Rally2 3:10'22.300 38'05.000 4'24.900
36 Timothy Van
Kurt Heyndrickx
Renault Clio Rally4 3:11'11.300 38'54.000 49.000
37 Gianluca Mara
Veronica Cottu
Peugeot 208 R2 3:13'14.300 40'57.000 2'03.000
38 Miguel Díaz-Aboitiz
Jordi Hereu
Škoda Fabia Rally2 evo 3:16'24.200 44'06.900 3'09.900
39 Gian Paolo
Angelo Tendas
Peugeot 208 R2 3:24'24.900 52'07.600 8'00.700
40 Carlo Covi
Andrea Budoia
Škoda Fabia Rally2 evo 3:27'07.000 54'49.700 2'42.100
41 Giacomo Spanu
Davide Spanu
Ford Fiesta Rally4 3:59'17.600 1:27'00.300 32'10.600

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