Stage data: SS15, Gallura 2 (8.24 kilometres)
By WRC Team MINI Portugal co-driver Stephane Prevot: “The stage is unchanged from last year and begins with 400 metres on Tarmac. There is a tricky downhill section, medium fast. It’s rough but soft in places. There is a good spectator point towards the end of the stage where you can see for about three kilometres.”
How the action unfolded:
Mads Ostberg warmed-up for the Rally Italia Sardegna-closing Power Stage in style by winning the first run through Gallura.
Driving a Ford Fiesta RS WRC for the privateer Adapta World Rally Team, Ostberg outpaced fellow Norwegian Petter Solberg - in a factory Fiesta - by 2.1s in front of huge crowds. “We tried to learn how to go on this stage and I tried in the beginning to push,” said Ostberg. “In the last half I tried to be careful and go smoother and that paid out. The next stage is very important and we will try the best we can.”
Jari-Matti Latvala was third quickest and suggested practice would make perfect for the Power Stage: “I’m trying to do a good Power Stage by practicing in the morning. I made a couple of mistakes just to know for the Power Stage is important.”
In the battle for fifth, Sebastien Ogier has maintained his grip on the position in his Volkswagen Motorsport Skoda Fabia Super 2000, despite Chris Atkinson’s best efforts to take the place in his WRC Team MINI Portugal entry.
“I tried really hard,” said Atkinson, who was 6.3s off the pace and is now 5.3s behind Ogier with one 8.24-kilometre stage left to run. “We’re on fairly worn tyres and only a few seconds behind Petter. I can’t do too much more. We have to be on the limit for the last stage.”
Event leader Mikko Hirvonen completed the run with the ninth fastest time. The Citroen Total World Rally Team ace is now just one stage away from winning the penultimate round of the FIA World Rally Championship. Second-placed Evgeny Novikov reported “taking it easy” due to the presence of a number of rocks on the inside of corners.
Top Italian Luca Pedersoli, who is up to 10th place following Karl Kruuda’s retirement last night due to damage inflicted to his car earlier in the day, reported the stage surface was slightly damp with light drizzle in places.
Following a regroup in Arzachena at 10:05hrs local time, the second run of Gallura, which counts as the event-closing Power Stage, goes live at 11:00hrs. The finish is scheduled for 12:45hrs in Porto Cervo.