WRC - Ogier claims victory in Italy

Sebastien Ogier extended his World Rally Championship lead to 64 points as he wrapped up a fourth maximum score by winning Rally Italy.

Reuters
WRC - Ogier claims victory in Italy
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2013 Italy VW Ogier

Volkswagen's team leader looked untouchable from the outset in Sardinia. Ogier was taking things carefully as early as the second loop, and still managed to extend his lead to over a minute by halfway through Saturday.

As has been the case with all his victories this year, Ogier also grabbed all three powerstage bonus points.

"We managed the rally perfectly all the time," Ogier told the official WRC website.

"We pushed when we needed to and were more careful when it was rough and more dangerous for the tyres. In the end it was a perfect win."

Second and third ultimately went to Thierry Neuville and Jari-Matti Latvala after excellent charging drives. Neuville had been a quiet fifth early on before surging forward with a gaggle of stage wins, while Latvala had to mount a comeback charge having lost two minutes with an SS1 puncture.

They were the survivors of a once-close podium battle that Citroen's Mikko Hirvonen and Neuville's M-Sport team-mates Evgeny Novikov and Mads Ostberg all crashed out of.

Dani Sordo faded from this group to take fourth for Citroen, although it might have been fifth had VW's Andreas Mikkelsen not broken his suspension while giving chase three stages from the end.

On his World Rally Car debut, WRC Academy champion Elfyn Evans took an incredible sixth. The Welshman was standing in for an unwell Nasser Al-Attiyah, and spent the event battling with Michal Kosciuszko, who was in his first rally with a Ford having split with Motorsport Italia's Mini operation.

In a very tense finish, Evans hold on to a top-six finish by just 0.6s over the Pole. Ostberg managed to salvage eighth having rejoined for Saturday under Rally 2.

Robert Kubica claimed a second consecutive dominant win in WRC 2.

Final standings

1. Sebastien Ogier (France) Volkswagen 3:22:57.900

2. Thierry Neuville (Belgium) Ford +01:16.800

3. Jari-Matti Latvala (Finland) Volkswagen 01:48.000

4. Daniel Sordo (Spain) Citroen 03:19.200

5. Martin Prokop (Czech Republic) Ford 08:34.100

6. Elfyn Evans (Britain) Ford 11:51.800

7. Michal Kosciuszko (Poland) Ford 11:52.700

8. Mads Ostberg (Norway) Ford 13:21.500

9. Robert Kubica (Poland) Citroen 16:47.600

10. Khalid Al Qassimi (United Arab Emirates) Citroen 17:19.900

(rank: r = retired, nc = not classified)

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