Sebastien Ogier leads Rally Italy after drama

Sebastien Ogier leads Rally Italy after drama
By Dan Quarrell via AutoSport

14/06/2015 at 17:11Updated 14/06/2015 at 18:13

Sebastien Ogier continues to lead Rally Italy, as yet more drama on the final morning dropped Mads Ostberg off the podium.

Hyundai is now on course for second and third with Hayden Paddon and Thierry Neuville behind Ogier's Volkswagen, after an error by Ostberg dropped his Citroen to fifth.

The half-minute gap between Ostberg and Neuville in third and fourth had been the only relatively close battle among the World Rally Cars starting the day, and Neuville had no intention of trying to chase his rival down with less than 30 miles left.

But he didn't need to try, as Ostberg went off on the opening Olmedo Monte Baranta stage in an incident he put down to bad pace notes and one of his intercom ear plugs coming adrift.

The Citroen sustained damage and struggled on, losing nearly two and a half minutes and falling to fifth behind Neuville and Elfyn Evans.

Though Ostberg is still 2m23.6s ahead of sixth-placed Jari-Matti Latvala, there is no opportunity to try to repair his car before the repeat run of the morning's stages.

The battle for WRC2 victory and seventh overall was also shaken up.

Yuriy Protasov lost his narrow advantage over Paolo Andreucci to a puncture, but the Italian was already struggling with a water leak and handed the lead back again on the next stage as he nursed his Peugeot.

Ogier maintains an overall lead of 2m19.7s ahead of Paddon, the top two having taken a stage win apiece on the first loop.