Sebastien Ogier leads, Hayden Paddon hits trouble

Sebastien Ogier leads, Hayden Paddon hits trouble
By AutoSport

14/06/2015 at 03:28Updated 14/06/2015 at 03:29

Sebastien Ogier moved into a dominant first position on Rally Italy after multiple dramas for long-time leader Hayden Paddon.

Hyundai driver Paddon held on for all of Friday and through Saturday morning under increasing pressure from the Volkswagens.

A spin for Paddon on the afternoon's first full-length stage finally handed Ogier the lead, with the Hyundai driver resuming 12 seconds adrift and admitting it was then time to "cruise" and keep second.

But that mission soon became much harder when an impact with a rock on the next stage caused transmission damage to Paddon's i20.

He carried out roadside repairs to enable him to tackle the 26-mile Monte Lerno stage at reduced speed, falling 2m13.6s adrift of Ogier.

That problem might have cost Paddon second given the rate at which Mads Ostberg was closing on him.

Then a puncture for Ostberg - his second of the day - near the end of Monte Lerno cost the Citroen driver around a minute, leaving him still 1m12s off Paddon's second place.

Ott Tanak would have benefited from all of this and most likely moved up to second in his M-Sport Ford, had he not retired from a comfortable third place when the car became stuck in gear on the Monti di Ala stage.

Thierry Neuville had a smoother afternoon and the second-quickest time behind Ogier on SS19 moved him to within 31.4s of Ostberg's third place.

But there were further problems for Jari-Matti Latvala.

He started the loop on Ostberg's tail following his morning tyre damage, then hit a rock and was left to tackle the day's longest two stages with mangled suspension.

Although Latvala fell over eight minutes away from the lead as he limped along, the level of attrition is such that he is still sixth overall behind Elfyn Evans.