Jan Kopecky eased through a demanding second leg of Rally Italia Sardegna on Saturday to stretch his lead over Ole Christian Veiby.
The Czech driver won five of the six speed tests in a Skoda Fabia R5 to widen his advantage to 1min 31.3sec with one day remaining in this seventh round of the season.
The hot and rough roads in the north of the Mediterranean island posed few concerns to the Skoda Motorsport driver and he can afford to measure his pace in tomorrow’s finale.
“It was a great day for us,” said Kopecky. “We have changed the set-up a little and I’ve pushed more, but still on the safe side. I was sure I had a puncture at the rear in SS12 so I slowed right down but then realised all was OK.”
Young Norwegian Veiby claimed the remaining stage victory in his similar Fabia R5 and was second behind Kopecky on the other five stages. He lost a few seconds after being trapped in the dust kicked up by another driver but otherwise it was a troublefree day.
Takamoto Katsuta was 4min 27.0sec further back in third in a Ford Fiesta R5. The Japanese driver overcame engine troubles this morning and an afternoon puncture.
Yohan Rossel was fourth ahead of Pierre-Louis Loubet, who dropped time with brake problems throughout the day. Lukasz Pieniazek completed the top six.
Hiroki Arai retired his Fiesta R5 after crashing while Fabio Andolfi did not restart this morning after his Hyundai i20 R5 was too badly damaged in yesterday’s accident.
Head to WRC+ to see the latest onboard and video reports from Rally Italia Sardegna.