Published on June 22nd, 2013 | by Daniel Sherman Fernandez0
Rally Italia Sardegna 2013, Sebastien Ogier, Volkswagen ace in the lead
Ogier has led from the rally’s opening stage and was quickest on two of Saturday morning’s loop of four stages. With the repeat of those stages to come this afternoon, the Frenchman is on course for his fourth win of the season. Behind Ogier, Saturday morning has seen plenty of churn in the top five, most notably the retirement from second of Mikko Hirvonen after the Finn went off on SS10 and got his Citroen DS3 stuck in a ditch.
This promoted Ford Fiesta RS driver Neuville into the provisional runner-up spot and, despite a couple of worrying moments on SS12, the Belgian remains on track to take the best WRC result of his career today. Behind him, the story of the morning has been the progress of Volkswagen Polo R drivers Jari-Matti Latvala and Andreas Mikkelsen.
Latvala’s recovery from a costly puncture on the opening day has been remarkable, and the Finn is now third, 35.5s adrift of Neuville, after moving ahead of Citroen’s Dani Sordo on SS11 when the Spaniard spun his DS3. Sordo is fourth, but feeling the pressure from Mikkelsen behind who is just 20.8ec away in Volkswagen’s third factory Polo. Mikkelsen was almost two seconds quicker than Sordo on SS12 and has been given the green light by Volkswagen to fight for the place – potentially his best finish to date for the German manufacturer. Czech driver Martin Prokop is well cushioned in sixth, more than four minutes behind the top five and more than two minutes ahead of Michal Kosciuszko in seventh. Kosciuszko is embroiled in a close scrap with Elfyn Evans, both of whom are competing in Ford Fiesta RS cars for the first time.