Sunday | 14 Jun 2015

SS21: Østberg yields third after mistake

Thierry Neuville demoted Mads Østberg from third in Sunday’s opening stage at Rally Italia Sardegna when the Norwegian went off the road and damaged his DS 3.

Stage info: SS20/21

SS20: Olmedo Monte Baranta 1, 11.13km
Sunday’s opening stage is a new one and features steep uphill sections and big drops, interspersed with fast open bends and tight hairpins - a real technical challenge. It starts with a bumpy, tight stretch through a wooded area. Numerous rocks and rough roads again add to the challenge.

SS21: Cala Flumini 1, 11.77km
The stage starts with a new 2.79km section before reverting to the 2014 route. After a short asphalt stretch midway through, it turns towards the sea and becomes faster, before a tricky narrow section lined by stone walls. It finishes with a crest and jump over a bridge.

It cost Østberg a minute and he then conceded fourth to Elfyn Evans as he limped through the following test 1min 20sec off the pace. He completed the loop 25.3sec behind the Welshman’s Ford Fiesta RS.

“There were a lot of things happening at the same time. I lost an ear plug in my intercom on a straight and was trying to put it back in place. I had a very bad pace note for the next corner, went wide and off the road. The damage wasn’t too bad but I lost my brakes,” said Østberg after the incident.

However, the damage proved worse than he thought. “It’s more than the brakes. I don’t know what, but we have to learn more about the problem,” he added at the end of Cala Flumini.

Yurii Protasov lost the WRC 2 lead and seventh to Paolo Andreucci in SS20 after a puncture in his Ford Fiesta RS. However, a radiator leak hampered the Italian and Protasov regained the initiative by 1.7sec in the next test.

Yazeed Al Rajhi lost fourth in the category and 10th overall when he crashed his Fiesta RRC.

Hayden Paddon won Olmedo Monte Baranta by 2.1sec from Jari-Matti Latvala, with Evans a further tenth of a second back. Leader Sébastien Ogier was fastest in Cala Flumini by 0.3sec from Andreas Mikkelsen, with Ott Tänak third quickest.

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