Italy WRC: Sordo takes shock victory after late Tanak drama

Hyundai World Rally Championship driver Dani Sordo sensationally won Rally Italy, as Toyota’s Ott Tanak lost his power steering on the final stage of the rally.

Italy WRC: Sordo takes shock victory after late Tanak drama

Tanak headed into the Power Stage 26.7 seconds ahead of Sordo, but plummeted down to fifth after spinning his Toyota and losing two minutes as he wrestled with his Yaris.

An emotional Sordo claimed his second WRC victory by 13.7s over M-Sport’s Teemu Suninen on his first event with new co-driver Jarmo Lehtinen. Andreas Mikkelsen was third.

Sordo had led in Sardinia on Friday, but was overhauled by an inspired Tanak who won all six of Saturday’s stages to overturn a 11.2s deficit into a 25.9s advantage.

Tanak’s plan was to conserve his lead and win his third event in succession, but his final stage drama robbed him of the result.

Despite this Tanak now has a four point lead in the championship over Sebastien Ogier with Thierry Neuville a further three points back, after both Ogier and Neuville had weekends to forget.

Ogier had finished on the podium on every rally since Mexico, but scuppered his chances of a rostrum finish in Sardinia when he clipped a boulder on Friday morning, breaking his front-left steering arm.

With no spare, he retired before returning on Saturday and breaking his steering arm again, this time the rear-left. He conserved his tyres on Sunday for the Power Stage, salvaging four points from his weekend with the second fastest time.

Neuville had a messy Friday. First a miscommunication between he and co-driver Nicolas Gilsoul resulted in a half spin that damaged the radiator, and then he was over-committed into a junction and overshot it.

These misdemeanours dropped him an insurmountable amount of time, meaning he had to settle for sixth and three Power Stage points.

Mikkelsen overhauled Elfyn Evans for what became a podium place on the final stage after a battle that raged for two days.

Beginning Sunday 14.9s behind Evans, Mikkelsen ate into that gap with all four stage wins on Sunday, including the Power Stage, to take the position by just 0.9s on his first rally since Argentina in April.

Esapekka Lappi haemorrhaged time on Friday afternoon when he whacked a bank with his Citroen C3, pushing the rear-left tyre of its rim. He kept out of trouble thereafter to seal seventh ahead of Toyota’s Kris Meeke.

Meeke had been challenging Evans and Mikkelsen for fourth on Saturday, but lost two minutes when he was forced to change a broken wheel.

Jari-Matti Latvala had led the rally on Friday morning, but his challenge faltered when he rolled his Toyota in a tight hairpin in the afternoon. His day got worse when he slipped off the road and into the wilderness on Friday’s final test, forcing him into retirement for the day.

Juho Hanninen was entered in a fourth Toyota for his first WRC event since 2017 so that it could test various components and set-up options. He was registered as a retirement as he elected not to contest the event-closing Power Stage.

Kalle Rovanpera won WRC2 Pro for the third event in succession in his Skoda Fabia R5 Evo, claiming ninth overall ahead of teammate Jan Kopecky.

shares
comments
Italy WRC: Tanak builds sizeable lead over Sordo

Previous article

Italy WRC: Tanak builds sizeable lead over Sordo

Next article

Toyota: Tanak issue not something we've seen before

Toyota: Tanak issue not something we've seen before
Load comments

About this article

Series WRC
Event Rally Italy
Drivers Dani Sordo
Teams Hyundai Motorsport
Author Luke Barry
Why there's no easy fix for Hyundai's operational Achilles Heel Prime

Why there's no easy fix for Hyundai's operational Achilles Heel

Hyundai Motorsport boss Andrea Adamo was vocal in his criticism of his team's tyre choices on Rally Croatia and declared that he "had better move my ass and solve it". Doing so will be vital to getting Hyundai's 2021 WRC title hopes back on track, but finding the root of the problem won't be the work of a moment

WRC
Apr 28, 2021
How Ogier survived road crash drama to triumph in Croatia Prime

How Ogier survived road crash drama to triumph in Croatia

Sebastien Ogier was already in an incredibly tight fight at Rally Croatia before a surprise collision with public road traffic at the start of the final day. But the defending champion held his nerve to take a narrow victory and create further World Rally Championship history

WRC
Apr 26, 2021
Why WRC's hybrid path could leave it at a crossroads Prime

Why WRC's hybrid path could leave it at a crossroads

With all three major manufacturers committing to the World Rally Championship’s hybrid era from 2022, the future of the series is assured for now, but it could lead to trickier twists and turns further down the road

WRC
Apr 1, 2021
How Tanak froze out the competition at the Arctic Rally Prime

How Tanak froze out the competition at the Arctic Rally

Ott Tanak made up for a disastrous Monte Carlo Rally by leading all the way on the snow-kissed stages of the Arctic Rally Finland and in the process hit back at an event Toyota had been expected to dominate…

WRC
Mar 1, 2021
What to look out for in the 2021 WRC Prime

What to look out for in the 2021 WRC

As the 2021 World Rally Championship prepares to launch amid tight COVID-19 restrictions in Monte Carlo, here are the eight things unrelated to the pandemic that you should keep an eye on this year

WRC
Jan 21, 2021
Evans on the talking points of WRC 2021 Prime

Evans on the talking points of WRC 2021

He came close to the title last year, and now Toyota's Elfyn Evans gives his verdict on what to expect from 2021 as the World Rally Championship prepares to reconvene for the Monte Carlo season opener.

WRC
Jan 20, 2021
Why Britain's continued WRC absence is a wake-up call Prime

Why Britain's continued WRC absence is a wake-up call

With Rally GB dropping off the World Rally Championship calendar for the second year in a row, one of Britain's best-attended sporting events faces an uncertain future. It's an unfortunate situation that points to troubling times ahead

WRC
Jan 12, 2021
The Top 10 WRC drivers of 2020 Prime

The Top 10 WRC drivers of 2020

A drastically-shortened 2020 season gave the World Rally Championship protagonists precious little stage mileage to strut their stuff, but as ever the cream rose to the top across the seven events. We rank the year's best performers

WRC
Jan 4, 2021