Italy WRC: Tanak snatches lead from Sordo

Toyota’s Ott Tanak surged past Hyundai’s Dani Sordo on Saturday morning as the pair’s World Rally Championship battle for Rally Italy intensified.

Italy WRC: Tanak snatches lead from Sordo

Tanak selected a different tyre strategy to his immediate rivals Sordo and Teemu Suninen, who both chose five hard compound tyres for the loop. Tanak went with three mediums and two hards, a combination he used on this exact loop two years when he won the rally for M-Sport.

The Toyota’s speed was ominous on the opening Coiluna-Loelle test, as Tanak immediately grabbed 6.5 seconds from Sordo and 7s from Suninen to vault into second, cutting Sordo’s lead from 10.8s to 4.7s.

Sordo limited the damage on Monti di Ala, losing 2.1s despite clipping a bank with the rear-left of his Hyundai towards the end of the test.

Tanak then stalled his Toyota on a Monte Lerno hairpin, but despite this, managed to beat Sordo by 9s to take the rally lead by 6.4s.

Suninen struggled to keep pace with Sordo and Tanak ahead, but has a firm grip on third place, 27.1s behind the leader.

Hyundai’s Andreas Mikkelsen and M-Sport’s Elfyn Evans started Saturday fourth and fifth but separated by a whisker; the position in Mikkelsen’s possession by 0.1s.

Evans made his move immediately, edging Mikkelsen by 0.3s on Coiluna-Loelle to head his rival by 0.2s. But Mikkelsen snatched the place back on Monti di Ala, beating Evans by 0.9s to head to Monte Lerno 1.1s to the good.

But Mikkelsen would make a mistake on Monte Lerno, hitting a gate on the exit of a water splash to drop back to fifth, 2.6s behind Evans overall.

The pair are losing touch with the podium though, such has been the ferocity out front. Beginning the loop 9s back, Evans is now 27.9s behind teammate Suninen in third.

Toyota driver Kris Meeke began Saturday 9.2s shy of the Mikkelsen and Evans squabble, and set some comparable times throughout the morning. But he is now 10.8s behind the duo, although 51.9s ahead of Thierry Neuville.

Neither Neuville nor Esapekka Lappi managed to make any significant headway into those ahead of them. Neuville holds seventh for Hyundai, bemoaning “another wrong tyre choice”, with a 20.1s advantage over Lappi’s Citroen.

Sebastien Ogier returned to action after retiring late on Friday morning when he clipped a boulder in his Citroen C3. He was due to run first on the road but incurred penalties to drop down the start order, slotting in behind championship rival Tanak.

The world champion was quickest in the early splits, but his torrid weekend continued on the second stage of the loop when he damaged the rear-left suspension of his Citroen C3 and was forced to stop and repair it.  After patching his car up, Ogier completed the loop but only at a crawl.

Jari-Matti Latvala was promoted into the position of road sweeper courtesy of Ogier’s tactics. Like Ogier, Latvala is well outside the points after he was forced to retire on Friday’s final stage when his Toyota slipped off the outside of a narrow left hander.

shares
comments
Hybrid World Rally Cars to be introduced for 2022

Previous article

Hybrid World Rally Cars to be introduced for 2022

Next article

Italy WRC: Tanak builds sizeable lead over Sordo

Italy WRC: Tanak builds sizeable lead over Sordo
Load comments
How Neuville stole the show from Ogier vs Evans slugfest in Spain Prime

How Neuville stole the show from Ogier vs Evans slugfest in Spain

While all pre-event chat focused on the two World Rally Championship title fighters, their closest challenger charged into the spotlight on Rally Spain. Thierry Neuville's star turn and another strong drive from Elfyn Evans in his fight with Sebastien Ogier made for an intriguing event as the 2021 campaign nears its crunch point

WRC
Oct 18, 2021
The steely determination behind the WRC’s Solberg 2.0 Prime

The steely determination behind the WRC’s Solberg 2.0

Two decades after Petter Solberg emerged as a World Rally Championship winner, his son Oliver is ready to take the WRC by storm. Having secured a part-time WRC factory drive for Hyundai in 2022, he's raring to repay the marque's faith in him and follow in his 2003 champion father's footsteps

WRC
Oct 14, 2021
Analysing the key moves in WRC’s 2022 silly season Prime

Analysing the key moves in WRC’s 2022 silly season

The World Rally Championship will step into a new hybrid era in 2022, but the car changes haven't been the only excitement that has built within the paddock. WRC's 'silly season' kicked off in a big way and all the key driver moves for 2022 - of which there are many - look set to shake things up.

WRC
Oct 13, 2021
Why winning in Finland was Evans' true WRC coming-of-age Prime

Why winning in Finland was Evans' true WRC coming-of-age

By his own admission, the fifth World Rally Championship victory of Elfyn Evans' career in Finland last weekend was the drive of his life. Winning five stages in a row and soaking up huge pressure from the Hyundais on the fastest gravel stages around, the Welshman put in a faultless showing that proved what he is truly made of

WRC
Oct 4, 2021
Does Neuville have a point with his WRC Rally1 rant? Prime

Does Neuville have a point with his WRC Rally1 rant?

OPINION: Thierry Neuville's diatribe against the upcoming Rally1-spec machines that will usher in the World Rally Championship's new hybrid era was remarkable in an era where drivers are usually reticent to air their views in public. But are the Belgian's concerns about speed, safety and cost entirely valid?

WRC
Sep 16, 2021
How Rovanpera reached new heights in the Greek mountains Prime

How Rovanpera reached new heights in the Greek mountains

After Kalle Rovanpera’s historic feat at Rally Estonia, the Finn scaled new heights at the Rally of the Gods with a commanding victory. And this time Toyota’s young star demonstrated why the future is bright with his devastating speed and consistency at the Acropolis Rally

WRC
Sep 13, 2021
The WRC drivers that came of age at the Acropolis Rally Prime

The WRC drivers that came of age at the Acropolis Rally

Five drivers have won first time out at the Rally Acropolis, transcending the tough dirt and gravel Greek roads to cement a place in rallying folklore. Here are three of the first-time winners' tales

WRC
Sep 9, 2021
Understanding Suninen’s sudden WRC exit gamble Prime

Understanding Suninen’s sudden WRC exit gamble

From being considered a likely contender to drive the next-generation M-Sport Ford Puma in 2022, Teemu Suninen's abrupt exit has created plenty of questions. The Finn's bid to become his country's next World Rally Championship winner won't be furthered by being sidelined, but there may be reason behind the decision

WRC
Sep 2, 2021