TOYOTA GAZOO Racing World Rally Team driver Jari-Matti Latvala is challenging for victory on Rally Italia Sardegna: almost certainly the roughest, and one of the hottest, rallies of the year. Latvala is second, with all three Yaris WRC drivers in the top five: Esapekka Lappi is fourth, having won the final stage of the day, while Juho Hänninen is fifth.
Latvala lost time in the dust of a competitor recovering from a puncture in the morning but moved gradually up the leaderboard, despite encountering tyre wear and brake issues in the abrasive stages of the afternoon. Lappi also had brake cooling difficulties in the afternoon while Hänninen had a spin and a power steering failure on the final stage. Nonetheless, all three cars proved to be extremely reliable in the harsh Mediterranean summer climate, fighting for the top positions.
Tommi Mäkinen (Team Principal)
“To have all three cars in the top five places on maybe the toughest rally of the year says a lot not just about the strength of the crews and the Yaris WRC but also our engineers and mechanics, who have carried out all the work needed and changed a lot of things at each service without any time penalties or issues. It's been another good day for us, where we have stayed out of trouble and had no punctures, which is very important here as many other drivers had problems. It’s clear that Jari-Matti had to slow down this morning behind another competitor, so I hope he will get some time back: this is what happened in a similar case on the last round in Portugal.”
Jari-Matti Latvala (Driver car 10)
“On the final stage the tyres were finished and the brakes were also getting too hot. But apart from that, we’ve done some good work today and improved the car over the course of the rally. The main problem we had was during the first run through Monte Lerno this morning, when we were suddenly caught in the dust behind another competitor, who had a puncture. He didn’t know we were there as radio is not allowed, so we lost about 10 seconds. You can’t afford that in the fight for victory as it is so close, so the team has appealed to the stewards and I hope we get the time back.”
Juho Hänninen (Driver car 11)
“It’s going very well, the only problem was on the last stage of the day when we had a spin and a problem with the power steering, which cost us some time. Overall, I tried not to push too hard in the afternoon as I knew it would take a lot out of the tyres and I think we managed that well. At midday service, we made the car stiffer and raised the ride height a bit, to cope with the rougher conditions afterwards.”
Esapekka Lappi (Driver car 12)
“Today has been good but it’s been really about clean driving and not making any mistakes rather than pushing hard. On both loops of stages I felt my brakes going towards the end of Monte Lerno, so I tried just to be careful and bring the car home. In the afternoon, it was very important to look after the tyres in the hot and abrasive conditions, hopefully I judged it right. I started the day as third car on the road so there was lots of cleaning and not much of a clean line, so that was another new experience for me. It’s good because I’ve got a lot to learn.”
End of day 3:
1 Ott Tanak/Martin Jarveoja (Ford Fiesta WRC) 2h56m37.3s
2 Jari-Matti Latvala/Miikka Anttila (Toyota Yaris WRC) +24.3s
3 Thierry Neuville/Nicolas Gilsoul (Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC) +1m02.2s
4 Esapekka Lappi/Janne Ferm (Toyota Yaris WRC) +2m10.8s
5 Juho Hänninen/Kaj Lindström (Toyota Yaris WRC) +2m42.1s
6 Sebastien Ogier/Julien Ingrassia (Ford Fiesta WRC) +3m26.1s
7 Mads Ostberg/Ola Floene (Ford Fiesta WRC) +3m56.0s
8 Andreas Mikkelsen/Anders Jaeger (Citroen C3 WRC) +7m47.6s
9 Jan Kopecky/Pavel Dresler (Skoda Fabia R5) +9m52.9s
10 Eric Camilli/Benjamin Veillas (Ford Fiesta R5) +9m53.8s
(Results as of 19:00 on Saturday, for the latest results please visit www.wrc.com)
A woman won a round of the World Rally Championship for the first time in Italy, thanks to French legend Michele Mouton who triumphed on the 1981 Sanremo Rally in an Audi Quattro. Mouton won three more rallies the following year (in Portugal, Greece and Brazil) en route to second place in the championship. Since then, no other woman has managed to win a world championship rally. Her co-driver, Fabrizia Pons, was also the last female co-driver to win a round of the WRC, alongside fellow Italian Piero Liatti on the 1997 Monte-Carlo Rally.
The final day of the rally is the shortest, with four stages that make up only 42.04 kilometres of competitive action. These are split into two loops of two stages, with the day starting at 07:30 and the winner on the podium in Alghero at 13:45. Between the two loops of stages there is just one regroup and technical zone at 09:30. The final stage is the Power Stage, which awards up to five extra points for the fastest driver.
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