Hyundai Motorsports Dani Sordo leads the way following the opening day of Rally Italia Sardenga. The Spaniard took victory in the final stage of the day by 1.3s over team mate Thierry Neuville and as a result holds a 17.4s overall lead from M Sport’s Teemu Suninen.
Thierry Neuville is third overall following the opening day of action just ahead of Sebastien Ogier’s Toyota. Championship leader Elfyn Evans ends the day in fifth place overall just ahead of his former M-Sport team mate Gus Greensmith.
Hyundai’s Pierre Louis Loubet was seventh overall just ahead of defending WRC champion Ott Tanak who suffered a mechanical issue earlier in the day and he is currently 01.53.7s off the lead of his team mate Dani Sordo. Toyota Gazoo Racing’s Kalle Rovanpera rounded out the top ten following the opening day of the event.
Speaking following the opening day of action the drivers commented saying:
Car #33 E. Evans – S. Martin (Toyota Yaris WRC): “It was not any better [with the road cleaning]. It was just impossible”.
Car #8 O. TÃ¤nak – M. JÃ¤rveoja (Hyundai i20 CoupÃ© WRC): “It has been hugely demanding and very very disappointing. Tough times at the moment”
Car #69 K. Rovanpera – J. Halttunen (Toyota Yaris WRC): [does not want to talk, dropped more than 40secs]
Car #11 T. Neuville – N. Gilsoul (Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC): “I am really trying of course, but two times the engine stalled in a tight corner and I could not restart it. It is a shame because we were doing a perfect job. I struggled this morning with the handling that cost us a lot of time, we tried to catch back now because there was some road cleaning”
Car #3 T. Suninen – J. Lehtinen (Ford Fiesta WRC): The afternoon has been quite a disappointment. We expected [hotter weather] but everything was in the shade and I could not use my two hards”
Car #44 G. Greensmith – E. Edmondson (Ford Fiesta WRC): “It has been a really good improvement over the past two rallies. I have no complaints but after every stage I see there is still a lot more time… We are getting there.”
Car #6 D. Sordo – C. Del Barrio (Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC): “It is really nice [to be back and lead]. This is only the first day. It is already challenging, but we want more than one day.”
Car #7 P.L. Loubet â€“ V. Landais (Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC): “At the end of the previous stage I hit something that opened the wheel. When it starts to work I do a mistake!”
Car #23 P. Tidemand – P. Barth (Skoda Fabia Evo): “For sure no troubles. This is the first time here. I will get a good night sleep now. It will be the same tomorrow, we will try our best. Everyone behind us is doing a good job, we just need to keep going”
Car #24 M. Ostberg – T. Eriksen (Citroen C3): “[Everything OK?] No. Do you know French? I do not understand this alarm. It happened in the stage. The car felt very strange on the stage, I struggled with the brakes but this I think is something else. I will call the team and check”.
The rally continues on Saturday, the longest day of the event where conditions are expected to be similar to what they were like today.