Giandomenico Basso extended his lead on the Sanremo Rally today [Friday], the eighth round in this year's Intercontinental Rally Challenge, following a flawless performance.
Despite saying that he had little confidence over the mountainous stages, the Italian managed to stretch his cushion to just under a minute by the end of the day's four stages.
Basso used some new compound tyres from BFGoodrich to help him capitalise upon his advantage over Peugeot Italy's Luca Rossetti, who maintained the second place he captured last night. Basso's Abarth's Grande Punto enjoyed perfect reliability throughout the day, although he had a precautionary gearbox and differential change at service.
"It's been another good day today. In actual fact I didn't feel very confident with the stages this morning so I decided to push hard to try and make up for that,” said Basso. “I was surprised that we won both of them, which was obviously very good.
“In the afternoon it was a little bit easier, as we obvious already knew the roads a bit. I'm very happy with the gap we've got so it will be simply a question of trying to control it tomorrow. There's still a long way to go though so I'm not drawing any conclusions. This rally is extremely tough and we've seen already that anything can happen."
Rossetti, last year's Sanremo winner, experienced some set-up problems throughout the two stages this morning, which led him to make some changes at service. During the afternoon Rossetti reported that the Peugeot felt better, although he still complained of occasional understeer.
The Italian battled against Freddy Loix throughout the day, with the pair ending up separated by just 12 seconds heading into the last leg tomorrow.
Loix's team-mate Nicolas Vouilloz meanwhile is also heavily involved in the battle for the final podium place, just five seconds behind the Belgian.
However an extra dimension to the battle for third is the fact that Rossetti also has the Italian title to think about. If the rally ended as it is now he would be crowned Italian champion, which is the main objective for Peugeot Italy.