Stage data: SS5, Tergu-Osilo (14.88 kilometres)
By WRC Team MINI Portugal co-driver Stephane Prevot: “This is my favourite stage of the rally because it reminds me a bit of Argentina with a few narrow bridges. It’s another new stage and it’s really hard for the tyres and you need a good engine because you are climbing up hill on the second part of this stage. People know this stage quite well because a lot of testing is done in this area.”
How the action unfolded:
Sebastien Ogier has made history by winning stage five of Rally Italia Sardegna in his Super 2000-specification Skoda Fabia, which puts out less power and is less sophisticated than the pacesetting World Rally Cars.
Ogier, who is spending 2012 readying Volkswagen Motorsport’s Polo R WRC for its world championship debut next season alongside a programme of rallies in an S2000 Fabia, was 7.0s faster than Evgeny Novikov in a Ford Fiesta RS WRC.
Although Andreas Mikkelsen scored a Power Stage point when he was third fastest on ADAC Rallye Deutschland’s closing stage in his Fabia S2000, Ogier’s performance marked the first stage win by a Super 2000 car in the WRC.
Ogier said: “For sure this stage is very hard for the tyres and in the Super 2000 you save a little bit more although this was a hard stage for us as well. I am happy and it’s good but I have to be realistic because of the conditions.”
Despite going 5.5s slower than Novikov, Mikko Hirvonen has extended his lead of the FIA World Rally Championship counter to 25.8s over factory Ford pilot Petter Solberg. Hirvonen, in a Citroen DS3 WRC, admitted that he had adopted a cautious approach to conserve his soft-compound tyres, which had become badly worn in the warm and dry conditions. “There were no mistakes, just a mistake with the choice of tyres,” said Finn Hirvonen, who was 10s quicker than Solberg, who also reported excessive tyre wear.
Crews are now making their way to the remote service halt in Sassari. Stage six, the repeat of Castelsardo, goes live at 14:46hrs local time.