Andreas Mikkelsen has stormed into an early lead at Rally Italia Sardegna thanks to a pair of early stage wins to pull out a useful advantage of 14 seconds on Hyundai teammate Thierry Neuville.

The Norwegian driver bolted into the lead at the start of the morning loop to take a 15.5s lead on Neuville after SS3. With Toyota’s Ott Tanak and Neuville sharing stage wins to complete the morning action, Mikkelsen’s lead has been marginally trimmed to 14.0s with Neuville in second with Tanak in third just 2.4s off of the World Rally Championship leader.

Teemu Suninen has continued his impressive start to the Italian event as lead M-Sport Ford driver in fourth place, just 0.1s ahead of teammate Sebastien Ogier at the end of SS5, but Elfyn Evans suffered a disaster on SS2 when he suffered suspension damage which required a steering arm change that dropped the Welsh rider 13 minutes behind the leaders.

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CrashTV: 

Jari-Matti Latvala moved up to sixth for Toyota ahead of head Citroen driver Mads Ostberg with Hyundai’s Hayden Paddon in eighth.

Craig Breen (Citroen) and Esapekka Lappi (Toyota) round out the top 10 contenders as Ole Christian Veiby leads the WRC2 class for Skoda.

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