Hyundai's Dani Sordo set the pace this morning in the shakedown for Rally Italia Sardegna, edging out Kris Meeke by 0.2s.

Sordo, who finished sixth on Rally Argentina last month, opted for four passes through Putifigari, setting his best time on his penultimate run, when he completed it in 3 minutes 27.4 seconds.

"It went well and the shakedown was representative of the rally," Sordo remarked. "The car set-up is okay, we went for both hard and soft tyres. I am happy with my time and I am confident."

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"We set a very good time," added Meeke, after his three runs. "Everything went well, a part from a little damage on the rear right tyre. It will be a very long and tough rally."

Meanwhile, Mads Ostberg trailed Meeke in the sister Citroen DS 3 WRC, 0.7 seconds back, and 0.2 seconds up on Volkswagen duo Sebastien Ogier and Jari-Matti Latvala, who set an identical time and were tied for fourth.

"I had a very good feeling with the car. I tried hard and soft tyres and I am satisfied with my set-up," said Ostberg. "Rally Italia Sardegna always is a very tough rally but I like it and I feel good about the event and the island."

"The shakedown went well for us," Ogier added. "The Polo R WRC is in great shape ahead of the rally. Julien [Ingrassia - my co-driver] and I are also perfectly prepared for one of the toughest rallies of the year. With temperatures currently over 30 degrees in the shade, it will certainly be extremely hot in the cockpit here on Sardinia. This means we will have to push ourselves to the limit physically.

"However, the route conditions are also very technical this time and far more challenging than last year. As always we will do our best and see how things turn out at the end."

Further back, Hyundai team leader Thierry Neuville took sixth, despite sliding wide and hitting a tree, with former F1 driver, Robert Kubica seventh, followed by Andreas Mikkelsen, Hayden Paddon and Ott Tanak in positions 8 through to 10. Elfyn Evans was eleventh.

"It was a very tough shakedown, with difficult conditions in its final part," Kubcia said. "Everything went well though, and the car set-up is okay. We tried new solutions and they worked in the right way. As per the tyres, with Pirelli we have only hard tyres."

"The shakedown was a mixture of many special stages that are typical of the rally on Sardinia," Mikkelsen commented. "It was very dusty, which made it harder to see where we were going. There was a lot of loose gravel, which was swept off the road with each car that passed, thus improving grip. The times clearly illustrate the difference between the first, second and third runs.

"With this in mind, we will face an additional challenge as one of the first cars onto the route tomorrow and on Saturday. Furthermore, a lot of the scheduled stages are very tough on the car - some of them even more so than in Argentina. It will be anything but an easy rally for everyone. However, this certainly does not mean that I am not really looking forward to it."

Rally Italia Sardegna now begins this evening with the ceremonial start and the short 2.50km Citta Di Cagliari super special stage, scheduled to start at 19.30 hours local time. The rally then gets underway 'proper' on Friday, with nine stages on the bill and a total competitive distance of 133.50 km. Full itinerary for round six in WRC 2015 available - HERE.

2015 Rally Italia Sardegna: Shakedown times (Top 10):

1. Dani Sordo Hyundai Motorsport i20 WRC 3m 27.4s M
2. Kris Meeke Citroen Total Abu Dhabi WRT DS 3 WRC 3m 27.6s M
3. Mads Ostberg Citroen Total Abu Dhabi WRT DS 3 WRC 3m 28.3s M
4. Sebastien Ogier Volkswagen Motorsport Polo R WRC 3m 28.5s M
= Jari-Matti Latvala Volkswagen Motorsport Polo R WRC 3m 28.5s M
6. Thierry Neuville Hyundai Motorsport i20 WRC 3m 29.4s M
7. Robert Kubica Ford Fiesta RS WRC 3m 30.3s
8. Andreas Mikkelsen Volkswagen Motorsport II Polo R WRC 3m 31.3s M
9. Hayden Paddon Hyundai Motorsport N i20 WRC 3m 31.7s M
10. Ott Tanak M-Sport WRT Ford Fiesta RS WRC 3m 32.5s M

Other(s)

11. Elfyn Evans M-Sport WRT Ford Fiesta RS WRC 3m 28.9s M

M denotes Manufacturer entry

all times unofficial