Rally Italia update #11
Kubica takes a wheel off and retires
Jari-Matti Latvala’s afternoon went from bad to worse on SS13. Having lost time to Sebastien Ogier on the previous stage, SS13 was where he lost the rally lead. The Finn stopped 8km into the stage to change a rear wheel and lost 1m 58s to his rival. He eventually finished the stage 2m 13s slower than Ogier and dropped to third place overall.
Latvala said: “It was my mistake. The rear of the car jumped out of the ruts and we damaged the wheel on a rock. I had to stop.” To compound Latvala’s misery, his progress towards the end of the stage was then hampered by the re-emergence of the brake problem that had scuppered his early progress the day before.
‘Monte Lerno 2’ was very kind to Citroen driver Mads Ostberg. Not only did he leap into second place after Latvala his trouble, but he also extended his advantage over Andreas Mikkelsen after his rival had to carry a broken damper from the previous stage into SS13. “We had to drive carefully through this one to avoid all the rocks,” Mikkelsen explained.
Hayden Paddon started the day as Hyundai Motorsport’s highest placed car, after Juho Hanninen’s crash and Thierry Neuville’s broken front suspension on Friday. But the Kiwi dropped 28 minutes on SS13 when his i20 WRC developed a serious engine misfire and stopped 10.1km into the test. He did get going again but Hyundai decided to stop him permanently to avoid any further engine damage.
The lead in the WRC 2 category changed hands again in SS13 when Nasser Al-Attiyah threw away his 2m 22s advantage 42kms into the stage. Ironically, the Qatar driver crashed his Ford Fiesta RRC in the same place that previous category leader Yazeed Al Rajhi surrendered his lead earlier in the day.