Ogier takes fourth win of 2014 in Italy
Sebastien Ogier claimed his fourth win of the 2014 World Rally Championship season in Italy, as problems for Volkswagen team-mate Jari-Matti Latvala gave the champion an easy final day.
On Saturday, Ogier looked like he was facing a second straight defeat by team-mate and title rival Latvala.
That all changed when the Finn hit a rock on the final stage of leg two and had to stop to change a wheel, dropping him to third.
Even before then, Latvala had scares from a sensor problem that lured him into slowing down to protect an allegedly overheating engine, his car cutting out, and then a brake issue that he reckoned was set to cost him the lead even before his mistake.
Latvala was unable to make any progress back up from third place, as Mads Ostberg kept his Citroen out of the VW's reach and clinched a hard-earned runner-up spot behind the ultimately dominant Ogier.
Andreas Mikkelsen spent most of the rally chasing Ostberg, before damper problems on Saturday delayed him and left the third VW settling for fourth, although he did get the bonus points for the Powerstage win.
Elfyn Evans completed the top five, but he had trailed M-Sport team-mate Robert Kubica until the Pole ripped a wheel off his Ford on a rock on Saturday's penultimate stage.
Kubica was able to return under Rally 2 and finished eighth, behind Martin Prokop and Henning Solberg.
The third M-Sport Ford of Mikko Hirvonen was completely destroyed in a shock fire that delayed Friday's stages.
Hyundai also lost a car in Sardinia, on a weekend of huge promise ending in heartbreak.
Thierry Neuville and Juho Hanninen made the most of running further down the start order on Friday's dusty roads to hold first and second halfway through leg one, only for a suspension failure to wreck Neuville's weekend. Hanninen then wrote off his i20 in a massive accident on the same stage.
Hyundai's new third driver Hayden Paddon was delayed by various issues and finished 12th.
Lorenzo Bertelli claimed his first WRC2 win in ninth overall, ahead of WRC3 champion Sebastien Chardonnet in Citroen's new R5 car.