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Tanak hits rock allowing Ogier take Rally of Italy lead

World champion Sebastien Ogier surged into the Rally of Italy lead on Saturday after Ott Tanak was forced to retire while leading after hitting a rock on stage 12 in the fifth leg of the season.

Hyundai’s Tanak had been leading since the start of the race on the Mediterranean island holding a 40.6sec advantage on Toyota’s Ogier going into the special from Lerno to Monti di Ala.

But the 2019 world champion damaged his Hyundai i20 after clouting a rock on the gravel roads, forcing him out of a second consecutive race while leading after a broken suspension in Portugal last month.

The Estonian, winner in Sardinia in 2017 and currently fourth in the overall world standings, was forced to slow down mid-race and parked his car 8.9km into the 22.08km special stage.

France’s Ogier, who posted the fastest times in SS10 and SS12, overtook Spaniard Dani Sordo of Hyundai in the morning.

Seven-time world champion Ogier, a three-time Sardinia winner from 2013 to 2015, now has a 17.5-second lead on Sordo with eight specials left, including four on Saturday afternoon.

Ogier’s Welsh teammate Elfyn Evans moved up to third, 32.1sec adrift, after winning stage 11.

Rally of Sardinia standings 

  1. Sébastien Ogier/Julien Ingrassia (FRA/Toyota) 2hr 10min 28.9sec, 2. Dani Sordo/Borja Rozada (ESP/Hyundai) at 17.5sec, 3. Elfyn Evans/Scott Martin (GBR/Toyota) at 32.1, 4. Thierry Neuville-Martijn Wydaeghe (BEL/Hyundai) 40.6, 5. Takamoto Katsuta/Daniel Barritt (JPN-GBR/Toyota) 1:55.5, 6. Mads Ostberg/Torstein Eriksen (NOR/Citroën C3) at 5:54.3

Special stage winners

Tanak 4 (SS1 to SS5), Sordo 3 (SS6, SS7, SS8 tied), Neuville 1 (ES8 tied), Ogier 2 (SS10, SS12), Evans 1 (SS11)

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