Italy WRC: Neuville eats into Ogier's lead
Sebastien Ogier continues to lead Rally Italy after Saturday morning’s stages, but his advantage has been slashed to 4.9 seconds by Thierry Neuville.
Ogier held an 18.9s lead overnight and increased that gap to 19.5s after the second stage of the day, but lost 14.6s to Hyundai’s Neuville in the Monte Lerno test.
Championship leader Neuville confessed he was pushing hard to catch Ogier, but was surprised to see that he had whittled the Frenchman's lead down to less than five seconds.
Behind the leading pair, there’s an intense fight for third place between Toyota teammates Jari-Matti Latvala and Esapekka Lappi.
Latvala had a 4.4s advantage heading into Saturday but saw that eradicated to just 0.9s after the opening stage.
Lappi lost confidence in the following test however with a lot of loose rocks in the road, so finds himself seven seconds behind his compatriot heading into the afternoon.
Hayden Paddon began the day in sixth position but has overhauled Citroen’s Mads Ostberg for fifth place this morning.
Ostberg’s teammate Craig Breen continues to hold seventh overall after a difficult Friday, ahead of leading WRC2 driver Jan Kopecky.
Kopecky inherited the lead of WRC in SS11 Monti di Ala from Stephane Lefebvre who parked his Citroen C3 R5 with suspension damage.
Martin Prokop holds ninth in his older Ford Fiesta WRC ahead of the Hyundai i20 R5 of Nicolas Ciamin.
Ott Tanak is closing in on the top 10 following his retirement from third place on Friday’s final stage, while Teemu Suninen’s comeback suffered a setback with a puncture in Monte Lerno.
Report by Luke Barry
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