Tänak and Ogier neck and neck

Tänak and Ogier neck and neck

Ott Tänak and Sébastien Ogier are separated by only three and a half seconds after the first half of the Sardinia rally. The championship leader, Thierry Neuville, had to retire after going off the track.

The suspense is at its height on the Sardinia rally! The two best drivers are separated by only three and a half seconds, and it is difficult to know which way the scales will tip during the last eight stages. At the mid-day break on Saturday, Ott Tänak is the leader ahead of Sébastien Ogier, while the first in the championship (after 5 out of 13 events), Thierry Neuville, was the victim of a (non-serious) off-road event in SS8, which forced him to retire.

While the French driver was at the top of the standings on Friday evening with four and a half seconds ahead of the Estonian, Tänak took back the lead for a tenth on Saturday morning by winning SS5, facing an Ogier victim of a small puncture. But the Gapençais gave him back in the following special to take a little more than two seconds in advance.

A Tänak-Ogier crossover

SS7 was won by Thierry Neuville, more comfortable than the day before because he did not have to open the road. But he was still 36 seconds behind Ott Tänak, new leader after having set a better time than Sébastien Ogier. But that was before the Belgian driver sent his Hyundai into trouble… During an SS8 made very tricky by the numerous stones on the course, Neuville lost control of his vehicle after 15 kilometers and had to abandon, leaving Takamoto Katsuta on the provisional podium, behind the duo of leaders well in the lead, who will compete for victory on Sunday, barring an accident.

“It’s sure that it was disturbing (to see Neuville arrested), it was a very difficult stage, it’s like driving without power steering. The car is so hard to drive that we’re exhausted right now“, recognized Tänak at the finish of this special. “I know this special and I have never seen it so difficult,” confided Ogier for his part. The two drivers will be able to rest for a few moments, before the last four special stages of the day.

General classification at the end of E8 (out of 16) – Saturday June 1, 2024
1- Ott Tänak – Martin Järveoja (EST-EST/Hyundai) en 1h51″09″7
2- Sébastien Ogier – Vincent Landais (FRA-FRA/Toyota) at 3″5
3- Takamoto Katsuta – Aaron Johnston (JAP-IRL/Toyota) at 1′′1
Daniel Sordo – Candido Carrera (ESP-ESP/Hyundai) at 1’34
5- Elfyn Evans – Scott Martin (GBR-GBR/Toyota) à 1’57

Special stage winners
Ogier : 3 (ES1, ES3, ES6)
Tank : 3 (ES2, ES5, ES8)
Neuville: 2 (SS4, SS7)

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