Reuters

Hirvonen takes early lead in Italy

Hirvonen takes early lead in Italy
By AutoSport

06/06/2014 at 04:47Updated 06/06/2014 at 05:52

Mikko Hirvonen holds the Rally Italy lead after the very short Cagliari superspecial on Thursday evening.

The barrier-lined asphalt stage, less than a mile in length, will have little in common with the rough gravel of the main event, which commences on Friday morning.

M-Sport Ford driver Hirvonen's time of 1m19.1s put him two tenths of a second ahead of championship leader Sebastien Ogier's Volkswagen and Thierry Neuville's Hyundai, which are tied for second.

Juho Hanninen made it two Hyundais in the top four, while Ogier's team-mate and title rival Jari-Matti Latvala edged out Elfyn Evans, Kris Meeke and Andreas Mikkelsen for fifth.

Meeke ended the stage with smoke coming from his Citroen and fluid leaking, having damaged the car on a violent landing from a jump. It will be repaired ready for the start of SS2 on Friday.

Robert Kubica had a less spectacular incident when he ran slightly wide out of a hairpin, gently rearranging the temporary barriers as he regained the course, leaving him outside the top 10.

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