Thierry Neuville and Martijn Wydaeghe (Hyundai i20) won the shakedown of the Rally of Sardinia on Thursday. Neuville set the fastest time on his fourth pass. He was nine tenths faster than his Estonian teammate Ott Tänak. The Finn Teemu Suninen (Ford Fiesta) was third in one second. World champion and World Cup leader Sébastien Ogier (Toyota Yaris) was fourth. The Frenchman conceded 1.2 at Neuville.
Neuville has therefore made an excellent start to a race that he should win so as not to lose touch with the leaders in the World Cup, both among the drivers and the constructors. The man from Liège, who won the Rally of Sardinia in 2016 and 2018, was a sigh faster than the rest of the field during the 2.89-kilometer shakedown. Suninen’s performance is striking. The Finn has had to give up his Ford Fiesta WRC in the past two rallies to Adrien Fourmaux and his Belgian co-driver Renaud Jamoul, who are now making the reverse move and are once again in the Ford Fiesta MKII. In their category they were second fastest, 0.3 from the Norwegian Mads Ostberg (Citroën C3).
On Friday, Sébastien Ogier is the first to hit the track. The course is bone dry and so Ogier will have to clean the track for the other riders. The same goes for Briton Elfyn Evans (Toyota Yaris), who starts second, and even a little bit for Neuville, who starts third.