Dani Sordo was fastest at shakedown for Rally Italia Sardegna on Thursday morning.
The Spaniard was two-tenths of a second quicker than Hyundai Motorsport team-mate Thierry Neuville through the 4.15km gravel road test from Olmedo to Monte Baranta.
Sordo set the pace through the opening run in his i20 Coupe before Toyota Gazoo Racing’s Juho Hänninen moved top of the rankings in the second pass. Sordo returned to the front in his third and final attempt.
“The surface was a bit different to the rally, quite loose. We tried with soft tyres and afterwards with hard tyres, and both times the feeling was great. It’s only shakedown but to have a good sensation is something of a relief,” said Sordo.
“We made some small changes, just a few clicks on the damper, not big changes. We did a good test before the rally and we’re happy.”
Sordo said road conditions were bone dry and with temperatures forecast to rise to 30°C by the weekend, tyre management will be crucial.
“Sometimes soft tyres are too soft and hard tyres are a bit too hard. With high temperatures and the roads cleaning all the time, we’ll have more and more grip and this will affect tyre wear,” he added.
Jari-Matti Latvala completed the top three in a Toyota Yaris, the Finn posting his quickest time after opting for an additional fourth run.
He was followed by team-mate Esapekka Lappi and Citroën newcomer Andreas Mikkelsen, who gained valuable experience of his C3 by tackling seven passes, who were tied. Haydon Paddon completed the top six in another i20.
Martin Prokop finished just one run before sliding off the road and beaching his Ford Fiesta RS WRC on a large rock. The stage was halted for almost half an hour while the car was removed.
The leading times were:
|1.||Dani Sordo||Hyundai i20||2min 31.8sec|
|2.||Thierry Neuville||Hyundai i20||+ 0.2sec|
|3.||Jari-Matti Latvala||Toyota Yaris||+ 1.1sec|
|4.||Esapekka Lappi||Toyota Yaris||+ 1.3sec|
|4=||Andreas Mikkelsen||Citroën C3||+ 1.3sec|
|6.||Hayden Paddon||Hyundai i20||+ 1.4sec|
|7.||Kris Meeke||Citroën C3||+ 1.8sec|
|8.||Sébastien Ogier||Ford Fiesta||+ 1.9sec|
|9.||Juho Hänninen||Toyota Yaris||+ 2.4sec|
|10.||Mads Østberg||Ford Fiesta||+ 3.3sec|