Thierry Neuville topped a Hyundai Motorsport one-two on shakedown for Rally Sardinia as the Belgium looked to bounce back with a strong result after a torrid showing in Portugal.
Neuville was 0.9 seconds clear of his team-mate Ott Tanak, setting the fastest time on his fourth running of the stage in his Hyundai i20 WRC. Tanak is another driver looking to score big after he also suffered in Portugal.
Teemu Suninen marked his return to the WRC with third fastest time following two events in WRC2, just a second shy of Neuville. Suninen’s best WRC result came in Sardinia so could be a dark horse for a strong result this weekend.
Shakedown looked to be a Toyota Gazoo Racing one-two-three before the Hyundai’s hit back, with Ogier leading the way in his Toyota Yaris WRC. The Frenchman would eventually have to settle for fourth fastest, with the third and final Hyundai of Dani Sordo in fifth.
Ogier’s team-mates Elfyn Evans and Kalle Rovenpera set equal times in sixth, though it wasn’t a smooth morning for Rovenpera as just before his first run of the morning he had to return to service to fix a power steering issue.
Gus Greensmith was in eighth, coming to terms with his third co-driver in as many events as Stu Loudon replaces Chris Patterson as a one off. Patterson was unable to make the rally due to personal reasons.
The top ten was rounded out by Pierre-Louis Loubet in a privately entered Hyundai i20, who will be hoping to go much further in Sardinia after rolling out in Portugal, while fresh from his best ever WRC finish, Takamoto Katsuta could only manage the tenth fastest time, 4.5 second off the leading time.