Friday | 12 Jun 2015

SS7: Tänak and Latvala share spoils

Jari-Matti Latvala and Ott Tänak claimed the stage wins as Rally Italia Sardegna returned to the gravel after the mid-leg service but Hayden Paddon continued to top the leaderboard.

Stage info: SS6 / SS7

SS6: Sagama 2, 2.58km
This short stage was developed especially for the rally and runs among fields and dry stone walls.

SS7: Sinis - Mont’ E Prama, 14.08km
The most picturesque stage of the event. It opens with a short burst of tight, twisting rocky terrain. That is followed by a high-speed blast along the Sinis peninsula coastline, running alongside Is Arutas beach and its white quartz sand.

Latvala was fastest through the repeated Sagama test by 2.1sec in his Volkswagen Polo R from Dani Sordo. The Finn was 4.2sec clear of Paddon to reduce the Hyundai driver’s lead to 18.8sec.

Ott Tänak overshot a hairpin but regained the lost time when he won the Sinis - Mont’ E Prama test in his Ford Fiesta RS. He was 2.2sec clear of Paddon, who reclaimed 1.1sec from Latvala to widen his lead to 19.9sec.

Latvala stiffened his car’s suspension for the afternoon tests, four of which are repeats from this morning, and was 3.5sec clear of team-mate Sébastien Ogier, whose road cleaning role for today is completed.

Tänak, who struggled to find a rhythm this morning, gave himself a pep talk before Sinis which seemed to do the job. “I tried to tell myself I had to go fast and it was quite OK. I was happy with my driving,” said the Estonian, who climbed ahead of Thierry Neuville into fifth.

Paddon, the first New Zealander to lead a WRC round outside his home country, acknowledged the day was about to become tougher. “It’s not been a bad day so far, but I think the real test will come on these repeat stages,” he said.

Ogier was third in both tests but admitted his driving wasn’t perfect in SS7. “I wasn’t confident enough to take risks,” said the Frenchman, who also suggested he might have a clutch problem in his Polo R.

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