Citroen's Sebastien Loeb saw his advantage cut from 23.8 seconds to 14 this morning in Sardinia, but with only the 8.24 km Power Stage to go, he still looks well placed to take the victory.

Loeb conceded 3.6 seconds to Mikko Hirvonen in the first test today, but came back to post the second best time in SS16 and while he was almost 10 seconds slower than his Finnish rival in SS17, he still has a comfortable cushion: "For the final victory it could be easy if the stage conditions are good," Loeb said in service G. "I will start fast and then I'll decide watching the splits."

Hirvonen meanwhile is more focusing on securing second now, and with Petter Solberg just 4.9 seconds back in third, he knows he cannot afford to make a mistake: "I must go flat out as I want to finish at least second," Mikko remarked.

Further back, Sebastien Ogier is now a distant fourth after hitting a big rock halfway through SS17 and damaging his suspension: "I hit a rock and stopped because I thought I had a puncture. But it is the rear left suspension that is broken," he confirmed.

Mads Ostberg is next up and fifth, followed by Dani Sordo, on his debut in the new Mini John Cooper Works WRC car and then SWRC leader Ott Tanak. Juho Hanninen, Britain's Matthew Wilson and Nasser Al-Attiyah complete the top ten.

The event now concludes with the Power Stage - a second-run through the 8.24 km-run Gallura test, which is due to start at 12.00 hours local time [11.00 hours UK time].

Rally d'Italia Sardegna: Overall standings after Stage 17 (Top 10):

1. Sebastien LoebCitroen Total WRT DS3 WRC3hrs 39mins 22.9secs M
2. Mikko HirvonenFord Abu Dhabi WRT Fiesta RS WRC+00mins 14.0secs M
3. Petter SolbergPSWRT Citroen DS3 WRC+00mins 19.8secs M
4. Sebastien OgierCitroen Total WRT DS3 WRC+01mins 31.2secs M
5. Mads Ostberg M-Sport Stobart Ford Fiesta RS WRC+02mins 34.4secs M
6. Dani SordoMini WRC Team John Cooper Works+03mins 15.4secs M
7. Ott TanakFord Fiesta S2000+06mins 41.9secs S
8. Juho HanninenRed Bull Skoda Fabia S2000+07mins 17.0secs S
9. Matthew WilsonM-Sport Stobart Ford Fiesta RS WRC+07mins 44.6secs M
10. Nasser Al-AttiyahFord Fiesta S2000+12mins 06.2secs S

Others:

11. Armindo AraujoMotorsport Italia Mini John Cooper Works +12mins 41.9secs A0
12. Khalid Al-QassimiTeam Abu Dhabi Fiesta RS WRC+13mins 15.5secs M
13. Evgeny Novikov M-Sport Stobart Ford Fiesta RS WRC+13mins 58.9secs A0
15. PG Andersson M-Sport Stobart Ford Fiesta RS WRC+18mins 35.2secs A0
17. Federico VillagraMunchis Ford WRT Fiesta RS WRC+27mins 56.5secs M
18. Jari-Matti Latvala Ford Abu Dhabi WRT Fiesta RS WRC+33mins 48.3secs M
28. Daniel OliveiraBrazil WRT Mini John Cooper Works+1hr 12mins 42.3secs M*

SWRC standings after Stage 17 (Top 3):

1. Ott TanakFord Fiesta S20003hrs 46mins 04.8secs S
2. Juho HanninenRed Bull Skoda Fabia S2000+00mins 35.1secs S
3. Nasser Al-AttiyahFord Fiesta S2000+05mins 24.3secs S

WRC Academy standings after Stage 14 (Top 8)#:

1. Egon KaurFord Fiesta R2 3hours 29mins 39.4secs A
2. Miguel BaldoniFord Fiesta R2 +01mins 42.1secs A
3. Fredrik AhlinFord Fiesta R2 +02mins 42.3secs A
4. Jan Cerny Ford Fiesta R2+16mins 42.9secs A
5. Brendan Reeves Ford Fiesta R2 +17mins 23.1secs A
6. Andrea Crugnola Ford Fiesta R2+17mins 33.9secs A
7. Craig Breen Ford Fiesta R2+20mins 54.2secs A
8. Miko-Ove Niinemae Ford Fiesta R2+32mins 05.2secs A

# WRC Academy does not include Day 3 of the event.

Notable retirements:

SS2. Jari-Matti Latvala Ford Abu Dhabi WRT Fiesta RS WRCSuspension M*
SS2. Daniel OliveiraBrazil WRT Mini John Cooper WorksStopped in stage M*
SS3. Kris MeekeMini WRC Team John Cooper WorksLost wheel M*
SS5. Federico VillagraMunchis Ford WRT Fiesta RS WRCStopped in stage M*
SS7. Evgeny Novikov M-Sport Stobart Ford Fiesta RS WRCOff the road A0*
SS7. Henning Solberg M-Sport Stobart Ford Fiesta RS WRCWithdrawn. M
SS8. Peter van Merksteijn Sr Van Merksteijn Citroen DS3 WRCWithdrawn M
SS8. Eyvind Brynildsen Skoda Fabia S2000Withdrawn S
SS8. Albert LloveraFiat Grande Punto S2000 Withdrawn S

SS9. Daniel OliveiraBrazil WRT Mini John Cooper WorksStopped in stage M*
SS10. Kris MeekeMini WRC Team John Cooper WorksStopped in stage M
SS11/12. Peter van Merksteijn Jr Van Merksteijn Citroen DS3 WRCEngine M

SS16/17. Dennis KuipersFERM Powertools Ford Fiesta RS WRCGearbox M
SS17. Bernardo SousaFord Fiesta S2000Mechanical S

* denotes re-started under SupeRally.

all times unofficial

 

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