Saturday | 13 Jun 2015

SS17: Ogier leads as Paddon spins

Sébastien Ogier took the lead of Rally Italia Sardegna on Saturday afternoon when Hayden Paddon spun away his slender advantage.

Stage info: SS16/17

SS16: Ittiri Arena 2, 1.40km
A new stage just outside the village of the same name. It is run on what used to be a motocross track.

 SS17: Monti di Ala’ 2, 22.49km
This begins with a new 8.32km section before reverting to roads used in 2014, but in the opposite direction. After climbing from the start to a wind farm, the stage twists across a hillside via fast corners. It reverts to man-made roads alongside another wind farm before a fast section to the finish.

The Kiwi had led since yesterday morning but spun his Hyundai i20 a third of the way into the Monti di Ala’ test.

“At a right bend coming into a hairpin, the rear of the car got away and we spun at the hairpin,” he said. “That wasn’t a big problem, but the engine wouldn’t restart and we lost about 10sec. Then we saw Ott stopped and decided to take it easy to protect the car. It’s too rough to push, so now we cruise.”

Ogier was fastest in his Volkswagen Polo R but admitted: “It was very abrasive and I didn’t push to the maximum to try to save the tyres. Maybe I was too cautious,” he said.

Ott Tänak was also in trouble. The Estonian yielded third when his Ford Fiesta RS stopped with its gearbox stuck in sixth and he seemed destined to retire.

That promoted Citroën’s Mads Østberg into third, the Norwegian 2min 15.0sec behind Paddon but happy to finish the stage. “There were so many big rocks, some on absolutely flat sections. I had to hit some of them. We had to choose between hitting them or going off the road,” he said.

Jari-Matti Latvala climbed to fourth but the Finn was concerned about possible damage to his Volkswagen Polo R. “There was a loose rock in the middle of the road. It was a fast place over a crest and I aimed at the centre of the car, but it might have hit something underneath,” he said.

Kris Meeke was third fastest but reported his gearbox was shifting slower than normal, while Robert Kubica retired after the stage with his Fiesta RS stuck in fifth gear.

Thierry Neuville won the previous short Ittiri Arena test in his i20, 0.8sec faster than Meeke. Nasser Al-Attiyah was third, a further 0.2sec adrift.

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