Stage data: SS4, Castelsardo 1 (14.12 kilometres)
By WRC Team MINI Portugal co-driver Stephane Prevot: “This stage is located north to Sassari and has never been run before. It starts downhill and is slow and tricky but becomes more winding in the second half. It’s not what I consider to be a natural stage and is not my favourite of the rally but it has a nice view of the sea.”
How the action unfolded:
Ford’s hopes of victory on Rally Italia Sardegna now rest with Petter Solberg after his team-mate Jari-Matti Latvala failed to make it through stage four of the FIA World Rally Championship counter.
Latvala, who was fourth starting the stage, struck a bank in a high-speed right-hander. The impact burst his Ford Fiesta RS WRC’s radiator and although the Finn tried to carry on he went off again and stopped.
“I took a little bit careful after what happened to Jari,” Solberg said after setting a time of 10m46.1s, which was 0.2s slower than stage winner Mikko Hirvonen, who extends his overall advantage to 15.8s in his factory Citroen.
“It’s such a difficult stage so I tried to take it steady and follow Petter’s split times and it worked out okay,” said Hirvonen. “There is no problem with the car, everything is working fine.”
Evgeny Novikov impressed with the third quickest time, 2.5s down on Hirvonen with Mads Ostberg reporting a possible problem with the right rear of his Adapta Fiesta after going fourth quickest.
Martin Prokop lost time when he spun and briefly got stuck between two rocks, stalling his Fiesta’s engine in the process. He was 45.2s off Hirvonen’s pace.
Andreas Mikkelsen reported getting stuck in a ditch for a few seconds in his Volkswagen Motorsport Skoda. As a result he has slipped behind team-mate Sebastien Ogier to eighth place in the overall standings.