Tom Kristensson delivered a measured drive to build a huge lead of over eight-minutes at Rally Italia Sardegna on Saturday as his FIA Junior WRC rivals hit technical troubles.
The Swede, driving a Ford Fiesta Rally4, arrived back at the end of day service halt in Alghero 8min56.2sec clear of nearest challenger Fabrizio Zaldivar.
“Well it’s a crazy situation at the moment with the results but we are really happy to be in the lead. I could not imagine the rally could be so tough and we would perform as well as we could have done,” said Kristensson.
“We are really satisfied, and tomorrow will also be a tough day but we will just take the car to the end and take home the victory.”
Finland’s Sami Pajari started Saturday 50.3sec behind the leader. However, he was forced to retire after breaking a driveshaft in the opening Monte Lerno speed test, allowing Kristensson to cruise through the remaining stages.
Latvian star Martins Sesks was third and showed blistering speed throughout the day to chalk up five stage wins. He trails the leader by 31min18.5sec after retiring on Friday with driveshaft woes.
Ruairi Bell restarted on Saturday after hitting a hay bale on Friday’s opening leg. He ended the day 1min46.4sec behind Sesks in fourth whilst Enrico Oldrati completed the top five 3min22.5sec further back.