Volkswagen ace Sebastien Ogier closed on victory on Rally Italia Sardegna this morning.

Ogier began the second and final day 46.6 seconds up on his closest rival, but pushed on, winning two of the four stages to increase his lead.

He now heads back to Olbia for the mid-day service with 1min 15.9secs in hand: "All okay, the car is perfect," said Ogier post-SS12. "I'm doing my best and driving without problems. The second leg is very technical and difficult - it is a long and hard rally."

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Thierry Neuville meanwhile now holds second for the Qatar World Rally Team, gaining the position in SS10, when Mikko Hirvonen went off and got stuck in a ditch. The Citroen driver was not able to continue.

"I think our strategy is working quite well at the moment," said Neuville. "Obviously when I am feeling confident with the car we can push a little bit harder, but there have been no major mistakes so far. We've had a few small moments when we were a bit late under braking, but there has been no damage to the car which is a good thing for the confidence this afternoon.

"We adjusted the brakes and springs after remote service yesterday to make the set-up a bit stiffer, and it really seems to be working well for us."

Jari-Matti Latvala completes the provisional podium in his VW Polo R WRC, 35.5 seconds off P2, with Dani Sordo one spot back and in fourth after an error in SS11.

"I've reached third place and I'm on the podium, but honestly I'm not thinking about second," Latvala said. "I don't want to take any risks [after the puncture in SS1 on Friday when I lost almost 2 minutes]. I'm pleased with myself."

"The car is very stiff, I haven't got a good feeling," Sordo added. "During the third stage [this morning] I had a spin because I drove into a hairpin too fast."

Behind, Andreas Mikkelsen and Martin Prokop lie fifth and sixth respectively, with Michal Kosciuszko, Elfyn Evans, Mads Ostberg and Khalid Al-Qassimi in positions 7 through to 10. Ostberg re-started under the Rally 2 rules this morning, after he rolled in SS8 last night, and having struggled with a fever on Friday, reported he was somewhat better.

"Health wise, I feel a little bit better than I did yesterday, but still not brilliant," confirmed the Norwegian. "But it's OK. I think we can relax a bit now and just concentrate on getting through all the stages this afternoon. I'm not sure how many more places we can make up on the second loop, but it has been an eventful morning so anything can still happen.

"We had a good run on the first stage [this morning, SS9], but then on the second one [SS10] we lost the intercom after a couple of kilometres which meant that we had to do almost the entire stage without any pacenotes. Then on the next one [SS11] we had a slow puncture and on the last one [SS12] we had a spin - so things have been happening!

"This afternoon we will just try to have a good drive with a good rhythm and increase the speed. We'll certainly try and push in the Power Stage too."

In WRC2, Robert Kubica remains comfortably out front, now 2.5 minutes up on Abdulaziz Al-Kuwari. Lorenzo Bertelli is third.

The event now concludes with a repeat-run through this morning's stages.

SS13, the 19.27 kilometre Monte Olia 2 test, is due to start at 14.25 hours local time [13.25 hours UK time].

Rally Italia Sardgena: Overall standings after Stage 12 (Top 10):

1. Sebastien Ogier Volkswagen Motorsport Polo R WRC 2hours 32mins 41.3secs M
2. Thierry Neuville Qatar WRT Ford Fiesta RS WRC +1m 15.9s M
3. Jari-Matti Latvala Volkswagen Motorsport Polo R WRC +1m 51.4s M
4. Dani Sordo Citroen Total Abu Dhabi WRT DS3 WRC +2m 12.2s M
5. Andreas Mikkelsen Volkswagen Motorsport II Polo R WRC +2m 32.1s M
6. Martin Prokop Jipocar Czech National Team Ford Fiesta RS WRC +6m 56.0s M
7. Michal Kosciuszko Lotos Team WRC Ford Fiesta RS WRC +9m 24.4s M
8. Elfyn Evans Qatar WRT Ford Fiesta RS WRC +9m 30.7s M
9. Mads Ostberg Qatar M-Sport WRT Ford Fiesta RS WRC +12m 17.1s M
10. Khalid Al-Qassimi Abu Dhabi Citroen Total WRT DS3 WRC +13m 11.8s M


11. Robert Kubica Citroen DS3 RRC +13m 14.1s WRC2
12. Abdulaziz Al-Kuwari Ford Fiesta RRC +15m 46.0s WRC2
13. Lorenzo Bertelli Ford Fiesta RRC +17m 02.7s WRC2
14. Nicolas Fuchs Mitsubishi Lancer Evo X +18m 14.1s WRC2
15. Armin Kremer Subaru Impreza WRX +19m 40.5s WRC2

WRC2 standings after Stage 12 (Top 3):

1. Robert Kubica Citroen DS3 RRC 2hours 45mins 55.4secs WRC2
2. Abdulaziz Al-Kuwari Ford Fiesta RRC +2m 31.9s WRC2
3. Lorenzo Bertelli Ford Fiesta RRC +3m 48.6s WRC2

WRC3 standings after Stage 12 (Top 3):

1. Stephane Consani Citroen DS3 R3T 2hours 54mins 57.6s WRC3
2. Christian Riedemann Citroen DS3 R3T +12.7s WRC3
3. Keith Cronin Citroen DS3 R3T +2m 44.7ss WRC3

Notable retirements:

SS2. Evgeny Novikov Qatar M-Sport WRT Ford Fiesta RS WRC Rolled M
SS6. Per-Gunnar Andersson Ford Fiesta RS WRC Mechanical*
SS8. Mads Ostberg Qatar M-Sport WRT Ford Fiesta RS WRC Rolled M*

SS10. Mikko Hirvonen Citroen Total Abu Dhabi WRT DS3 WRC Went off the road M

*denotes re-started under the Rally 2 regulations

all times unofficial