WRC 2 in Italy:
Kopecký holds dominant lead

Jan Kopecký leads Rally Italia Sardegna by more than three minutes at the end of Saturday’s second leg as he avoided problems that sidelined early leader Stéphane Lefebvre.

The Skoda Motorsport driver capitalised on the retirement of Friday’s overnight leader Lefebvre on Monti Di Ala', moving from second place into the lead when suspension damage halted the Citroën C3 R5 of his rival.

From there, Kopecký admitted it would be hard to keep his focus without the Frenchman as a target to aim for, but he kept his Fabia R5 out of trouble, avoiding rocks pulled onto the racing line by cars ahead to finish the day with a 3m 09.4sec lead.

Hyundai driver Nicolas Ciamin is second, the Frenchman making up a place from Friday courtesy of Lefebvre’s exit.

Ole Christian Veiby was arguably the driver of the day as he swept to six stage wins in his Fabia R5. Starting Saturday in eighth – following suspension issues on Friday afternoon – he capitalised on problems for others to move into the final podium spot.

Lefebvre retired from the lead on SS11 with suspension damage

The Norwegian has an advantage of more than two-minutes on fourth-placed Pierre-Louis Loubet. The i20 R5 driver couldn't regain the time he lost with problems on Friday and his woes were compounded by a 1m 20sec penalty for checking into a time control eight minutes late.

Fifth is Fabio Andolfi. The Italian was running in the top five during the opening two stages, but a problem with his Fabia R5 on the first run of Monte Lerno cost more than 3m 30sec and dropped him to eighth. A clean run through the afternoon allowed him to recover some of the lost ground.

Lukasz Pieniazek and Takamoto Katsuta both suffered issues during the longest day of the rally – eventually finishing sixth and seventh respectively. The Pole rolled his Fabia on the 1.42km Citta’ di Ittiri-Coros test, while Toyota development driver Katusuta lost almost four minutes on the final stage and slipped from third.

Kajetan Kajetanowicz is eighth going into tomorrow’s final four stages despite brake failure during the morning loop. The three-time European Rally champion lost time as he was forced to repair his Ford Fiesta's braking system on a road section.

Benito Guerra retired with a mechanical issue on SS14 – after spending most of the day running just outside the top five. Simone Tempestini capped a bad day for Citroën Racing by retiring a stage later.

Head to WRC+ to watch All Live from Rally Italia Sardegna, including every stage broadcast live, breaking service park news and expert studio analysis.

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