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Sebastien Ogier completes Day1 at top

31/05/2024

The first day of the 2024 WRC Rally Italia Sardegna saw intense competition and challenging conditions. Sebastien Ogier leads the pack after SS4, with a total time of 53:43.1 seconds, maintaining a slim 4.5-second lead over Hyundai’s Ott Tänak. Dani Sordo completes the top three, trailing by 33.2 seconds.

Standings After SS4:
1. S. Ogier – 53:43.1 sec
2. O. Tänak – +4.5 sec
3. D. Sordo – +33.2 sec
4. T. Katsuta – +34.5 sec
5. T. Neuville – +36.6 sec
6. E. Evans – +57.3 sec

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Key Moments from SS3 and SS4:

SS4: Mauro [WRC2] “Really tough, really hard rally. We crashed in Portugal and crashed in Spain. We are trying to find confidence to do things right. It is difficult because I am a bit scared but we are trying for the days.”

SS4: Daprà [WRC2] Roberto Daprà faced a puncture in the previous stage and now has worn-out tyres. “Unluckily we punctured in the previous stage 4 km from the finish, and now we are without tyres as they are slick. Tomorrow is a long day, we enjoy the stages a lot, and we enjoy the Rally2.”

SS4: Sordo
Dani Sordo completes the stage down on the time of Katsuta, hinting at a potential battle for the podium. “It’s really good, but many difficulties. It was so difficult to keep the tyres in good shape; we made a small mistake this morning with the spare tyre but we are human. We went out with four hard and one soft by accident! But it is OK.”

SS4: Katsuta
Takamoto Katsuta emerges from the final stage of the day fourth quickest, with a time of 9:43.7 seconds. “It didn’t feel so good all day, need to find out why. Wrong way to go, so we need to keep pushing and find a solution.”

SS4: Ogier
Ogier overtook his compatriot Fourmaux within the stage, after the latter pulled up with problems in his M-Sport Ford Puma Rally1. The eight-time champion heads into Saturday in the lead. “It’s good, we lost a bit of time passing Fourmaux. [Friday] has been demanding for the tyres.”

SS4: Fourmaux
Adrien Fourmaux faced significant challenges in SS4, pulling up just 2.3 km into the stage due to issues with his M-Sport Ford Puma Rally1. The crew is reported to be OK and working on the car, but this setback has affected Fourmaux’s standings. Earlier in the day, he had a slow puncture in SS3, which also cost him valuable time. Fourmaux’s difficulties have seen him drop out of the top positions, impacting his podium hopes for the rally.

SS4: Tänak
Ott Tänak finished just 3.7 seconds off the pace of his Hyundai teammate Thierry Neuville, with a time of 9:36.6 seconds. “It’s really high grip now, on the start line I was going to stage mode and it’s all at zero again!”

SS4: Neuville
Thierry Neuville completes SS4 and the first day here at Rally Italia Sardinia, piloting his Hyundai i20 N over the stopline. The Belgian will be hoping for a more forgiving road position tomorrow, having suffered from road cleaning this afternoon. “That has been the hardest day you could imagine, the worst stages to get through! Luckily it was only half a day, we had good tyre management. Even though we didn’t have the perfect tyre choice, six would’ve been better for sure. I kept some tyres and I pushed hard.”

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