Jari-Matti Latvala has moved closer to victory on Rally d'Italia Sardinia after taking victory on both of the morning stages on the final day.
Rather than being hampered by running first on the road, the Ford drivers position at the head of the field proved to be beneficial as the drivers behind struggled for visibility as dust hung in the air, and his advantage over team-mate Mikko Hirvonen was extended out to more than 30 seconds during the morning tests.
“I got the advantage on the first stage so I took it a bit steady,” he said after SS14. “I was quite concerned with looking after the car. Now my advantage is quite a bit so I'm trying to be smart.”
Hirvonen was in the top three on both of the morning stages, but admitted he wouldn't be able to catch Latvala through 'driving alone' and admitted he simply couldn't see the road ahead in places, while the dust also aided Petter Solberg in his fight for third place with Sebastien Loeb.
Rather than lose position as many had expected going into the final day, Solberg was able to retain a slender advantage of 2.3 seconds during the morning tests, although it remains to be seen whether the Norwegian can retain his lead over the defending champion through the final three stages.
Evgeny Novikov continues to hold a solid – and lonely – fifth place ahead of Matthew Wilson and Khalid Al Qassmimi, while Mads Ostberg now holds the final points scoring position after continuing turbo issues for Dani Sordo saw the second works Citroen plummet down the order to lie outside the top 20 overall.
Patrik Sandell remains out front in the Production World Rally Championship, although Nasser Al-Attiyah is just 9.5 second behind going into the final three stages, while Martin Prokop moved ahead of Michal Kosciuszko on the second stage of the morning to take the lead in the Junior World Rally Championship – despite the numerous penalties incurred during the first two days.