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Olbia (Italy) (AFP)
Frenchman Sebastien Ogier, who is searching for their eighth world title before retiring from the Toyota Yaris, consolidated his lead in the World Rally Championship by achieving his third victory this season out of five rounds, after finishing first in the Sardinia Rally.
The 37-year-old won the Sardinia Rally for the fourth time in his career, and consolidated his number of victories with the 52nd victory in his career, after he advanced at the end of the fifth round of the season over his Toyota teammate, Alvin Evans, who won the previous round in Portugal.
Ogier, who was intending to retire at the end of last season due to the repercussions of the Corona virus, but postponed the matter until after the current season, finished the 20 special stages, 46 seconds ahead of Evans, while Belgian Thierry Nouvel (Hyundai) came third, 1,05,2 minutes behind World Champion.
The Frenchman took the lead in the rally on Saturday after Estonian Ott Tanak withdrew in the twelfth special stage, on his way to winning the rally.
Oger, who finished third in Portugal and came out of Finland’s Arctic Rally without points, while winning in Monte Carlo and Croatia, strengthened his lead in the general standings, after raising his score to 106 points, ahead of his teammate Evans, who has 95 points.
After he was forced to clean the track on Friday, as he was pole position as a result of entering the rally at the top of the general classification, Ogier knew how to deal with the difficulties of the gravel roads of Sardinia and took the lead after taking full advantage of the problems of the Hyundai Tanak drivers and Spaniard Dani Sordo, who was a victim Accident in the fifteenth special stage.
Just before the start of the last 20 exhibition stage and his ascension to the podium for the 88th time in his career, Ogier said, “So far, we are having a perfect weekend. We did everything we could, and now we have to finish the work.”
After the Italian rally, the drivers and teams will travel to Africa for the Kenya Safari Rally, which returns to the world championship calendar for the first time since 2003, and will be held from June 24 to 27 in Nairobi.
The top five standings in the Sardinia Rally:
1- Frenchman Sebastien Ogier (Toyota) 3,19,26,41 hours
2- Elvin Evans (Toyota) 46 seconds behind
3- Belgian Thierry Nouvel (Hyundai), 1,05,2 minutes behind
4- Japan’s Takamoto Katsuoka (Toyota), 6,11.2 minutes behind
5- Jari Houghtonen (Hyundai), 9.31.7 minutes behind
© 2021 AFP