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WRC Rally Italy

Sordo explains peculiar WRC Rally Sardinia roll

Dani Sordo says his Rally Sardinia roll looked much "more serious than it was" in an eventful Monte Lerno stage that also saw Kalle Rovanpera encounter a herd of cows.

The Hyundai driver was struggling for grip before going off the road less than two kilometres from the end of the extended 49.9km stage, introduced for the 20th anniversary of the Italian World Rally Championship event.

Sitting sixth overall, Sordo was fighting for grip from his hard tyres when he slid off the road at a tight left-hander. The Spaniard elected to push on in the hope it would lead back to the stage, but instead, the car slid down a steep drop, resulting in his i20 N rolling end over end at low speed.

Despite the roll, Sordo and co-driver Candido Carrera were okay and managed to roll the car back on its wheel and reach the midday service, albeit in 20th overall, 3m16.2s behind leader Sebastien Ogier.

"It was so difficult with the hard tyres and the car was so difficult to drive with the grip and I just braked a little bit late in one right corner before a left corner and I went a little bit out wide," said Sordo.

"I was thinking I would get a bit stuck there so I went ahead and there was a big hole and we rolled.

"It was not a big crash, there was just a big hole and we didn't expect it. We just hit the ground really strong with the front of the car and then we rolled. It looks much more serious than it was."

 

Sordo wasn't the only driver to hit trouble in the brutal stage as Rovanpera came across a small herd of cows at the start of the stage.

The world champion, facing the disadvantage of starting first on the road, attempted to avoid the cows but clipped one before running into a ditch to avoid the others.

"The first two stages of the morning were much better and were still quite damp and we didn't lose too much time but the long one was much drier and really slippy for us," said Rovanpera.

"Then on the Monte Lerno stage, there were some cows at them start and we clipped one which did some damage to the front and we went off into a ditch to avoid the other cows.

"We were a bit lucky. We had a bit of a brake issue for most of the stage too so it was definitely not an easy stage."

Moments later Rovanpera's Toyota team-mate Takamoto Katsuta became the third driver to hit trouble when he ran straight on at a right-hander.

The Japanese driver's car ran over a boulder before becoming wedged between two large rocks. Katsuta, who had occupied third overall before the stage admitted that he thought the day was over before somehow managing to reverse the car back out onto the stage with minimal damage.

"The car is strong but it was quite a tricky incident actually," said Katsuta.

"I thought it was game over when I saw where I was heading but I must say that the team have made a very strong bumper and that is why we are here. It was a small mistake and we lost some time but we are here, it could be worse."

Ogier leads the rally 16.3s from Hyundai's Esapekka Lappi heading into the afternoon loop of stages.

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