Categories: News

Sébastien Ogier now also wins Rally of Sardinia, Thierry Neuville is third

Sébastien Ogier (Toyota Yaris WRC) remains strong in his farewell season. The Frenchman won the rally of Sardinia, the fifth round of the WRC, on Sunday. Earlier this season, the Frenchman also triumphed in the Monte Carlo and the Croatia rally. For the Frenchman it is his 52nd career win, his third in the current season. After three consecutive victories between 2013 and 2015, Ogier recorded his fourth victory in Sardinia. In the World Cup standings, he continues to overtake Elfyn Evans (Toyota Yaris WRC), who finished second just like in Portugal, and Thierry Neuville (Hyundai i20 Coupé WRC), who finished third for the fourth time in five rallies. was allowed to.

The Sardinia Rally started dramatically for Teemu Suninen (Ford Fiesta WRC), who went off track in the opening stage, just like in the Monte Carlo. There was even more drama for Ford when Adrien Fourmaux and Renaud Jamoul (Ford Fiesta Rally2) went off the track in the ensuing stage. During the fourth stage Rovanperä (Toyota Yaris WRC) had to deal with a technical problem, the young Finn was allowed to forget a good result. Hyundai, meanwhile, had seized power with Ott Tänak (Hyundai i20 Coupé WRC), who won five stages and finished the day in lead with Dani Sordo (Hyundai i20 Coupé WRC), who won three stages. Thierry Neuville had a difficult day. He had adjustment problems and also had two punctures. A fifth place at the end of the opening day was his share.

Tänak got off to a strong start on the second day until just before noon he hit a boulder that suddenly popped up on his driving line. The Est was unable to avoid a collision, damaged his suspension and had to retire. For Tänak, who is one of the fastest drivers in the pack this year, it was his third retirement of the season after Monte Carlo and Portugal, his second consecutive in a race where he was up for grabs. And so Ogier took the lead, despite being the first to take to the track on Friday. The Frenchman then managed to limit the damage and secured a good starting position for Saturday. The only one who could put pressure on the Frenchman was Dani Sordo, winner of the two previous editions in Sardinia. But when the Spaniard made a mistake and broke a wheel on his Hyundai, all the pressure was gone and Ogier finished the day in the lead with a 38.9-second bonus over team-mate Elfyn Evans. Thierry Neuville moved up to third after the bad luck of his teammates at 1:01.6 from Ogier and 22.7 from Evans. The Belgian could only hang on and could not keep up with the pace of the Toyotas.

Photo: AFP

On Sunday morning, Evans won the first and third classification stage. Neuville won the second stage, his second stage win in this rally. But the standings were cemented. The only thing left to do was look forward to the final powerstage, where drivers and constructors can earn extra points. In that powerstage, Thierry Neuville was the best, ahead of Ott Tänak. Ogier drove the fourth fastest time and thus collected two extra World Cup points. Elfyn Evans got away well when his engine stalled after taking the watersplash too deep. The Welshman lost 18.3 at Neuville, but his second place was not compromised.

The conclusion after five rounds of the WRC is that Hyundai is usually the fastest, but due to mostly individual mistakes by their drivers, the team was only able to win the Arctic Rally. Toyota took advantage of Hyundai’s mistakes and won four out of five rallies. Sébastien Ogier is in his farewell season with three victories in five rallies, particularly strong. The same can be said of Thierry Neuville, who got a new co-driver with Martijn Wydaeghe at the beginning of this season. Together they finished third in four rallies. In the World Cup standings, Ogier is further ahead of Elfyn Evans. The Frenchman now has 106 points, which is 11 more than Evans who has 95 points. Thierry Neuville remains third. The Belgian has 77 points, which is 29 less than World Cup leader Ogier. In the constructors’ category, Toyota is further ahead of Hyundai and the gap is already 49 points.

The next rally is coming up in Kenya at the end of this month. Then the Safari Rally returns to the highest level after 19 years. The rally was last organized in 2002 and won by the late Colin McRae. The rally has evolved in recent years and now fits into the more modern WRC picture.

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