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VW, Citroen & Ford | its a Three Way Battle to End Day 1 @ Rally Italy - 2013

Competitive stages of Rally Italy was opened by Khalid Al-Qassimi in his Citroen DS3 WRC today early morning. Being the road sweeper, he...

Competitive stages of Rally Italy was opened by Khalid Al-Qassimi in his Citroen DS3 WRC today early morning. Being the road sweeper, he battles the day with most slippery surface and with many tiny scary tales to tell later. The start order was decided by yesterday's Qualifying trial and the fastest drivers choose to start at the late order, hence J.M.Latvala was 13th to start the opening stage of the rally.

Monte Lerno 1, SS1 [31.8 km] - being the longest special stage of the rally, and bad luck hit the fastest Finn Latvala as his front left tyre ended with a puncture. Sebastien Ogier was the one to cross the finish mark fastest.

Castelsardo 1, SS2 [14.0km] - Latvala fought back, won the stage and also moved up to 7th overall from 12th. Separating the next step is more than a minute gap ahead. Russian Evgeny Novikov / Ilka Minor retired after a spectacular crash, lucky nobody was hurt, including both the crew.

Tergu Osilo 1, SS3 [14.93km] - Ogier takes one more stage into his victory bag, Latvala is just 0.3s slower than him.WRC2 class leader, Robert Kubica had a moment of scare when he lost grip and brushed his car against a wall, but lucky to finish with just cosmetic damage.

Castelsardo 2,
SS4 [14.0km] - After a quick remote service, the repetition of the morning stages begun by Thierry Neuville striking hard and taking the stage win. Ogier is fast enough for a second quickest finish, while Mikko times a third fastest.

Tergu Osilo 2, SS5 [14.93km] - One more stage win for Theirry Neuville and he moves up a position to 4th overall. Ogier & Latvala quickly fall behind him.

Monte Lerno 2, SS6 [31.8 km] - Ogier fastest & also the best tyre saver. Mikko's rubber is worn the most. P.G. Andersson stops in the stage, he had a drive shaft issue before the start of the stage. Thierry continues to push and passes his team-mate Mads Ostberg to take the 3rd overall finish. "I'm feeling really good and confident in the car now. I'm really enjoying driving it. If I can climb into the top five after what happened on the first stage, that would be the perfect result," says Latvala.

After yet another quick service, the competition followed to the last stage, which will be run twice but in darkness. Equipped with additional light pods, the cars & crews have to tackle the last 27.1 km with utmost care, as a disaster could be waiting for them.

Gallura 1, SS7 [13.55 km]
- It went with much drama, as hanging dust created a visibility issues to much of the late runners. Latvala flies again and wins the stage. Caution is the word of importance to the rest of the crowd.

Gallura 2, SS8 [13.55 km] - Sordo completes for the day, says, "To be honest I thought it would be bad...but's really fantastic to drive like this." Evans the WRC debutant says, "Car's been perfect, we just want to get out tomorrow and enjoy ourselves." Mads rolled in the stage. Latvala takes one more night stage victory & moves to his ambitious 5th overall, with Mads unplanned exit.

Overall Top 10 positions at the end of Leg-1 [Day-1]

1Sebastien OgierVW Polo R WRC1h40m47.3s
2Mikko HirvonenCitroen DS3 WRC+46.6s
3Thierry NeuvilleM-Sport Ford RS WRC+49.7s
4Dani SordoM-Sport Ford RS WRC+1m19.4s
5Jari-Matti LatvalaVW Polo R WRC+1m44.0s
6Andreas MikkelsenVW Polo R WRC+1m55.4s
7Martin ProkopCzech Ford RS WRC+4m50.4s
8Michal KosciuszkoLotos Ford RS WRC+6m25.6s
9Elfyn EvansM-Sport Ford RS WRC+6m34.5s
10Robert KubicaCitroen DS3 RRC+8m35.3s

See you early tomorrow for the final day action & drama..

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