SÉBASTIEN Ogier won Thursday evening’s opening speed test on the Ittiri arena stage at Rally Italia Sardegna.
The FIA World Rally Championship leader completed the 2.00km test three-tenths of a second faster than Ott Tänak and Jari-Matti Latvala, who both won their heats,.
“It’s always good to be fastest, especially here,” said the Vllkswagen driver.
“It’s great to see such an atmosphere and so many enthusiastic fans.”
An estimated 10,000 people packed the former autocross arena and watched Ford Fiesta RS driver Tänak beat Thierry Neuville, while Latvala overcame Dani Sordo’s Hyundai i20 in their respective heats.
Kevin Abbring and Andreas Mikkelsen were tied for fourth place, 0.6sec off Ogier’s pace, with Hyundai teammates Neuville and Paddon level in sixth.
After an overnight halt in the rally base of Alghero, the rally continues on Friday with a morning loop of four rough-road gravel stages north-east of the town, which is repeated in the afternoon after service. The eight stages cover 102.86km.