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Ogier’s Late Puncture Hands Victory to Tänak in Sardinia


Sardinia, Italy – Sébastien Ogier’s hopes of claiming a third consecutive FIA World Rally Championship victory were dashed in the final moments of Rally Italia Sardegna, as Ott Tänak secured a dramatic win in the Wolf Power Stage.

The Estonian ace capitalized on Ogier’s misfortune, finishing the rally 0.2 seconds ahead of the Frenchman, who suffered a puncture in the decisive stage. Ogier had led the rally into Super Sunday with a 17.1-second advantage over Tänak, but the tables turned in the last stage.

The eight-time WRC champion endured a turbulent day, which included four lead changes and saw championship leader Thierry Neuville bow out into retirement. Fortune initially favored Tänak when Ogier’s decision to carry only one spare wheel for the morning tests backfired. A deflated tire forced him to use the same set of rubber for three increasingly rough and abrasive stages, trailing the Estonian by 3.5 seconds at the mid-leg tire fitting zone.

In the afternoon’s legendary stages around Monte Lerno, Ogier threw caution to the wind. With Tänak’s pace fading and the 2019 title winner hinting he was instructed to play it safe, Ogier stormed back into the lead. However, a puncture in the Wolf Power Stage proved decisive.

“It’s not rally, it’s like cross country,” Ogier said. “Not much I can do. That’s life, I think we deserved more than that, but at least Ott has done a good rally as well.”

Tänak, who earns a bag full of points for Hyundai and himself in the respective championships, remarked, “Tough weekend, this stage there was no road and some huge stones. It was difficult to do much more.”

Thierry Neuville secured a 25th Wolf Power Stage win with a time of 4min 55.052sec, earning crucial points for his championship campaign. Despite sliding off the road and retiring earlier in the event, Neuville demonstrated his speed and resilience in the final stage.

Dani Sordo completed the leading trio in another Hyundai, despite struggling to find his rhythm. The Spaniard trailed teammate Tänak by almost two minutes with Elfyn Evans a further 30.5 seconds behind. Grégoire Munster rounded out the top five in an M-Sport Ford Puma while WRC2 leader Sami Pajari held sixth.

Power Stage Classification:

  1. T. Neuville – 4min 55.052sec (5 pts)
  2. O. Tänak – +2.385sec (4 pts)
  3. E. Evans – +6.537sec (3 pts)
  4. A. Fourmaux – +6.931sec (2 pts)
  5. T. Katsuta – +6.936sec (1 pt)
  6. S. Ogier – +8.780sec

Final Standings:

  1. O. Tänak – 03:06:05.6sec
  2. S. Ogier – +0.2sec
  3. D. Sordo – +2min 25.8sec
  4. E. Evans – +2min 37.8sec
  5. G. Munster – +6min 42.9sec
  6. A. Fourmaux – +16min 43.4sec

Drivers’ Championship Standings after Round Six:

  1. Thierry Neuville – 122 pts
  2. Ott Tänak – 104 pts
  3. Elfyn Evans – 104 pts
  4. Sébastien Ogier – 92 pts
  5. Adrien Fourmaux – 74 pts
  6. Takamoto Katsuta – 52 pts

Manufacturers’ Championship after Round Six:

  1. Hyundai Shell Mobis World Rally Team – 269 pts
  2. Toyota Gazoo Racing WRT – 256 pts
  3. M-Sport Ford World Rally Team – 131 pts

The thrilling conclusion to Rally Italia Sardegna sets the stage for the upcoming events, with the next rally promising even more excitement and drama in the World Rally Championship.

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