Stage data: SS10, Monti di Ala’ 1 (14.49 kilometres)
By WRC Team MINI Portugal co-driver Stephane Prevot: “Most of this stage is on a brand new road built to reach the windmills. It’s hard with lots of twisty corners and crests so good for spectators and photographers. The surface is going to be slippery, particularly on the first pass.”
How the action unfolded:
Evgeny Novikov has set his third fastest time on Rally Italia Sardegna but his pace through Saturday’s second test has done little to erode Mikko Hirvonen’s advantage in the battle for victory on the penultimate round of the FIA World Rally Championship.
Novikov, in an M-Sport Ford Fiesta RS WRC, was fastest by 1.2s but trails his Finnish rival, in a Citroen DS3 WRC, by 1m10.6s. “Everything is fine and I am satisfied,” said Russian Novikov. “Now I just have to keep going and take no risks. Everything is okay.”
Hirvonen reported no problems after setting the fifth best time, 6.6s down on Novikov.
Chris Atkinson said the rear of his MINI John Cooper Works WRC was sliding too much. Nevertheless he is now 4.4s behind Sebastien Ogier in the battle for fourth, albeit coming under increasing pressure from Mads Ostberg. The Norwegian, who was second fastest, is now 23.0s behind Australian Atkinson with one stage of Saturday’s opening loop of runs remaining. Ogier, meanwhile, is bemoaning his decision to fit a long-ratio gearbox to his Volkswagen Motorsport-run Skoda Fabia Super 2000.
Martin Prokop’s difficult Rally Italia Sardegna continued when he picked up a front-right puncture. The Czech drove for four kilometres with the deflation but was unsure how it had occurred.
Nicolas Fuchs continues to lead the Production Car World Rally Championship division despite picking up a front-right puncture. Indonesia’s Subhan Aksa was quickest in the class.