Friday | 12 Jun 2015

Birthday delight for Andreucci

Paolo Andreucci celebrated his 50th birthday by leading WRC 2 after Friday’s opening leg of Rally Italia Sardegna.

The multiple Italian champion was handed a guest appearance at his home round of the FIA World Rally Championship to celebrate his birthday – and promptly upstaged the series regulars by building a 1min 26.3sec lead in a Peugeot 208 T16.

Andreucci took the lead in this morning’s opening stage and posted three fastest times to hold a comfortable advantage, despite overshooting a junction and suffering power steering troubles.

The rough gravel tracks caused plenty of problems, but Armin Kremer avoided them to hold second in a Skoda Fabia R5, with Yazeed Al Rajhi third in a Ford Fiesta RRC. The Saudi Arabian driver trails Kremer by 7.1sec.

Yurii Protasov was a further 32.2sec behind in fourth with Jan Kopecky fifth in another Fabia R5, despite incurring a 1min 40sec penalty after clocking in late at a time control after repairing a bent suspension wishbone.

Abdulaziz Al-Kuwari completed the top six in a Fiesta RRC, 4min 23.3sec off the lead, despite stalling his engine and puncturing in the final stage.

Nasser Al-Attiyah was second until crashing in the final stage, while Esapekka Lappi briefly ousted Andreucci from top spot before hitting a rock and breaking his Fabia R5’s steering arm. He ended 19th.

Third-placed Eric Camilli retired two stages from the day’s end, Julien Maurin exited from third this morning, Scott Pedder hit a wall and broke his car’s steering arm and Stéphane Lefebvre rolled.

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