Stage data: SS7, Tergu-Osilo 2 (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:
Another contender for Rally Italia Sardegna glory is out with Petter Solberg failing to get beyond the 12.75-kilometre mark in his Ford Fiesta RS WRC.
Solberg, who was second overall behind Mikko Hirvonen starting the run, is reported to have taken the front-left corner off his car. His woe means Hirvonen leads the FIA World Rally Championship round by more than one minute with one stage of day two remaining.
“They are dropping like flies, I must make sure I don’t do any mistakes because there is still a long way to go,” said Citroen DS3 WRC driver Hirvonen. “I have to stay focused.”
Evgeny Novikov recorded his second fastest stage time in succession to climb into the runner-up spot. “I’m happy with everything, everything is fine,” said the Russian. “I didn’t think about the tyres, I just went flat.”
Ostberg, meanwhile, is nursing a rear differential problem in his Adapta Fiesta, which is running in front-wheel-drive mode only. “I we will try to get through the last stage but I don’t know if it will be possible, we will see,” said the dejected Norwegian, who slips to fourth behind Ott Tanak, who suggested a possible engine problem on his M-Sport Fiesta. The issue had plagued him on road sections but the Estonian fears the power glitch is now affecting him on the stages too.
Chris Atkinson spun and stalled his MINI John Cooper Works WRC, losing valuable time and dropping behind Volkswagen Motorsport’s Sebastien Ogier in the process. Martin Prokop was late starting the stage after encountering brake problems on the preceding road section. The Czech also reported engine issues at the stage finish.