Stage data: SS13, Monti di Ala’ 2 (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:
Jari-Matti Latvala says his first stage win of Rally Italia Sardegna could be crucial in his bid to top the event-closing Power Stage on Sunday morning.
Latvala dropped out of contention for victory on the penultimate round of the FIA World Rally Championship when he retired on day two but is desperate for the three bonus points on offer for winning the Power Stage in his efforts to secure third place in the final drivers’ standings. “My focus is on the Power Stage but before that I need to have the confidence to push there,” said the factory Ford driver.
Latvala’s Ford team-mate Petter Solberg was second fastest, 1.4s adrift and moves ahead of Karl Kruuda into ninth position as a result. Kruuda reported losing time on the previous test striking a tree with the right-hand side of his Super 2000 Fiesta.
Having moved into fourth overall on stage 12, Mads Ostberg said he has reduced his pace in his Adapta Fiesta. “I am happy to be back in fourth,” he said. “Okay, a small part inside of me wants to keep pushing really hard but we need these points for the championship and we are taking a small step down now.
Mikko Hirvonen was sixth quickest and maintains his healthy advantage at the top of the leaderboard in his factory Citroen. Ott Tanak, who holds third overall behind M-Sport team-mate Evgeny Novikov, said his Fiesta was back to full working order following repairs at midday service. However, the Estonian said he was being extremely cautious through the rock-strewn roads.
Thierry Neuville suggested the settings of his Qatar World Rally Team Citroen weren’t ideal for the slippery stage surface due to the fact he was sliding too much. Paulo Nobre said he tipped onto two wheels rounding one corner in his MINI John Cooper Works WRC.
Nicolas Fuchs still leads the Production Car World Rally Championship division although his once commanding lead has been trimmed to 50.7s ahead of Valeriy Gorban after the Peruvian picked up a front-right puncture.