Hayden Paddon and Sebastian Marshall, Hyundai i20 Coupé Wrc, finished first the first leg of Rally Italia Sardegna after the first 9 special stages. Hyundai Motorsport crew formed by Paddon and co-driver Marshall got first after SS5 with an efficient strategy that kept him in first place after damaging a dumper in the final stages of the day. Second position for the the other Hyundai I20 Coupé Wrc of Thierry Neuville and Nicolas Gilsoul that, winning the SSS1 on Thursday, had a difficult morning being second car in the stages but then were able to fight back, despite a puncture on SS7. Third are Ott Tanak and Martin Jarveoja on M-Sport Ford Fiesta Wrc. Fourth is the Toyota Yaris Wrc by Toyota Gazoo World Racing Team with Jari Matti-Latvala who managed to keep a good rhythm in the afternoon stages. Fifth is Mats Otsberg on a Ford Fiesta RS that did not find the best tyre choice. Only seventh is the world champion Sebastien Ogier on Ford Fiesta Wrc, who paid a high price for cleaning the road. Leader in WR2 on a Skoda Fabia is Jan Kopecky
Saturday’s leg, the second and the longest one of the rally, is 143.16km long and divided over six well-known challenges in the Monte Acuto region. A morning loop of Coiluna-Loelle (14.95km), Monti di Alà (28.52km) and the nearby very demanding Monte Lerno (28.11km including the famous Micky’s Jump) will be repeated in the afternoon after regroup and a 30-minute service in Alghero.
Unofficial top-5 after SS9: 1. Paddon-Marshall (Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC) 1.31’02”6; 2. Neuville-Gilsoul (Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC) +8”2; 3. Tanak-Jarveoia (Ford Fiesta WRC) +9”5; 4. Latvala-Anttila (Toyota Yaris WRC) +9”8; 5. Ostberg-Floene (Ford Fiesta RS WRC) +14”7.