Toyota World Champion Sebastien Ogier won the Rally Italia on Sunday, ahead of fellow Welshman Elvin Evans and Belgian Thierry Neuville of Hyundai.
France’s Ogier’s 52nd place win in the World Rally Championship allowed the seven-time world champion to extend his lead over Evans in the overall standings to 11 points after five of 12 rounds. His rating was “a great weekend”.
As a tournament leader, he had the disadvantage of opening up difficult rocky roads bordered by ditches. “It was an incredible vacation,” he said. “When we first came here, we thought it was best to stay home.”
Ogier, 37, with Julian Ingracia as co-driver, had already won Monte Carlo and Croatia this season, and Sunday’s win was his fourth in Sardinia. Ogier was horrified by one of the difficulties. “I had a shooting bug long after the water splashed,” he said. “We survived, but we lost a few seconds there.”
Evans was also frightened in the water. The Welshman, who had never had the victory, very quickly took over the last Ford on the final power stage. His engine stalled and sank and then took a while to restart, but stumbled in sixth on the stage, saving second overall and Toyota in second.
“It took some water and took a while to clean up,” he said. “Fortunately we are back on the four cylinders and at least we have been able to move forward. It is not the best feeling.” Ott Tanak won five of the eight stages on Friday with fellow Hyundai Danny Sordo winning the other three stages. Tanak also won the opening stage on Saturday.
As they did in the previous round in Portugal, Toyota drivers waited patiently for things to go wrong for Hyundai. In this race, Evans won third-place Auger and Sordo third after Neuville crashed when he finished second on stage seven and Tanak had problems on stage 14, while he was in front.
In Sardinia, Saturday is still disastrous for Tanac. He had a 40sec lead when his car hit boulders on stage 12, allowing Ogier to take the lead.
After three stages, Sordo, who was in second place, got off the road and hit a stone, ending up with a wheel in the ditch with his car on his side. Three weeks before the safari rally kicks off in Kenya, Hyundai started tweaking a lot of things in its cars, most notably the suspension.
“The car is really fast now, so there’s nothing stopping us, just the little things,” Tanak said at the end of Sunday. “It’s a fast car and we just have to make it reliable. I’m sure we can do that.”
His teammates were less confident after struggling all weekend feeling the cars weren’t right for them. “The speed in some stages was good, but nothing more positive,” said Sordo. “We come home a little disappointed, but sometimes it is.”
Results and standings
1. Sebastien Auger-Julien Ingracia (France / Toyota Yaris) 3 hours 19 minutes 26.4 seconds 2. Elvin Evans-Scott Martin (UK / Toyota Yaris) 46.0 seconds 3. Thierry Neuville-Martin Weidegui (Belgium / Hyundai) i20 ) 1: 05.2, 4. Takamoto Katsuta-Daniel Barritt (JPN-GBR/Toyota Yaris) 6:11.2, 5. Jari Huttunen-Mikko Lukka (FIN/Hyundai i20) 9:31.7
Drivers arrangement ترتيب
1. Sebastien Ogier (France/Toyota) £106, 2. Elvin Evans (UK/Toyota) 95, 3. Thierry Nouvel (Belgium/Hyundai) 77, 4. Ott Tanak (EST/Hyundai) 49, 5. Takamoto Katsuta (JPN/Toyota) 48, 6. Cali Rovanpera (FIN/Toyota) 44, 8. Danny Sordo (ESP/Hyundai) 30, 8. Craig Brin (IRL/Hyundai) 24, 9. Gus Greensmith (GBR/M-Sport) Ford) )))) 22, 10. Adrien Fourmaux (FRA / M-Sport Ford) 20
1. Toyota 231 punti, 2. Hyundai 182, 3. M Sport Ford 82, 4. Hyundai 2C Competition 28.
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