Hyundai driver Dani Sordo has won the Rally Italy-Sardegna, third to last round of the WRC, following an exceptional performance. Sordo repeats is 2019 triumph at the Mediterranean island, one of his favourite appointments.
Onboard his i20 Coupe, The Spaniard fought tooth and nail to defend his team leadership, commanding the rally right up to the thrilling last meters when he led teammate Thierry Neuville by just 5.1 seconds Sébastien Ogier (Toyota) by 6.1 seconds.
The “Three Musketeers” engaged in a battle to the death for the final glory this Sunday. The Spaniard started the morning with a very comfortable lead of 27.4 and 28.9 seconds over Ogier and Neuville respectively. Throughout the day, however, the two runner ups have staged a brutal attack trying to hunt down the leader.
The showdown between the two pursuers – as they both went head to head to catch up with the Spaniard – has been exhilarating. Competition at its highest level.
Ogier, second in the standings, is now running out of time in his bid for a seventh crown, which is painfully slipping away from his fingers. This weekend he has hardly managed to get any closer to his teammate and current overall leader, Elfyn Evans.
And this despite the Briton not feeling completely at ease at the wheel of his Yaris during the Rally Italy-Sardegna. In the end, the Welshman finished immediately behind Ogier.
Perhaps the pressure of standing so close to being crowned world champion for the first time combined with the toughness of the Sardinian race has been too much for Evans. In the end, he only managed to arrive over a minute behind the winner.
Someone else who has not lived up to expectations placed upon him has been Ott Tänak. The defending champion has only taken a discreet sixth place behind the Fiesta of Teemu Suninen.
He has also yielded almost two and a half minutes to the winner. Not a very flattering position to be for a champion of his stature. This was the final nail in the coffin of his title hopes.
Saturday: A great day for Sordo
Over the weekend Sordo has delighted fans with one of his greatest performances yet. He has demonstrated an unshakable command of the race right from the beginning of the event on Friday.
He rose to the front on stage four after gobbling up Teemu Suninen. That day he went to bed with a 7.5-second advantage over the Finn from M-Sport.
It was on Saturday, however, that Sordo really shone on board his Hyundai. He pressed on even harder than the day before and left the rest of his opponents behind. In that second stage, he managed to increase his leadership by 27.4 seconds over Ogier who was now second.
As it was to be expected, Sunday’s fight was electrifying to the very last meters. The superhuman offensive mounted by Ogier and Neuville in pursuit of Sordo did yield some results as they steadily shortened the distance with the leader at every passing stage at the Rally Italy-Sardegna.
In the end, however, it just wasn’t enough and the Spaniard got the win with a 5-second lead. Spectators were kept on the edge of their seats up to the chequered flag.
Images of Rally Italy-Sardegna: Dani Sordo Twitter.