Ogier's fourth win of 2015 in Italy

Sebastien Ogier scored his fourth World Rally Championship win in six events after a bruising Rally Italy, led for most of its distance by Hyundai's Hayden Paddon. The revamped Sardinia route proved punishing, with Ogier the only World Rally Car runner to get through the entire weekend without some form of mechanical drama or driver error. Paddon made the most of running late in the order on the very dusty roads to take the lead on Friday, though even Ogier had plenty of praise for the Kiwi's pace. Even when Paddon's road position advantage over Ogier was less pronounced, Volkswagen's world champion was often only able to gain small amounts of time.

Paddon then had a major scare when an impact with a rock caused transmission damage and left him struggling through the day's longest stages but he managed to keep the time loss around two minutes and didn't even lose second place, such was the rate of attrition behind. Mads Ostberg, regaining ground after a puzzling lack of pace on Friday, was poised to take second from Paddon before his second puncture of Saturday and he was still on course for third for Citroen before a mistake on Sunday's first stage left him limping to the finish with a damaged car and dropping to fifth.

That meant two Hyundais completed the podium behind Ogier, as Thierry Neuville - who had twice needed to carry out improvisational roadside repairs following technical problems - backed up Paddon's runner-up spot with third place. Elfyn Evans spent much of Friday in two-wheel drive mode thanks to transmission trouble, but persisted and was rewarded with fourth.

M-Sport should've had a podium, though - Ott Tanak was in a very comfortable third behind Ogier and Paddon mid-way through Saturday only to get stuck in gear and retire. Suspension-breaking incidents on both Friday and Saturday wrecked Mikkelsen's weekend, but Latvala looked best-placed to chase down Paddon at one stage but that was before three separate car-damaging incidents that combined to leave him eight minutes off the lead but he still managed to finish in the top six. Kris Meeke, Dani Sordo and Robert Kubica all had incidents on Friday that put them out of the hunt for points, while transmission troubles added to punctures put surprise opening-stage winner Martin Prokop out.

Final Results after SS23:

Pos Driver Team Car Gap

1 Sebastien Ogier Volkswagen Motorsport Volkswagen 4h25m54.3s
2 Hayden Paddon Hyundai Motorsport N Hyundai 3m05.4s
3 Thierry Neuville Hyundai Motorsport Hyundai 4m22.5s
4 Elfyn Evans M-Sport World Rally Team Ford 5m34.8s
5 Mads Ostberg Citroen Total Abu Dhabi WRT Citroen 7m50.1s
6 Jari-Matti Latvala Volkswagen Motorsport Volkswagen 8m06.7s
7 Yuriy Protasov Ford 14m57.7s
8 Paolo Andreucci FPF Sport Srl Peugeot 15m03.3s
9 Jan Kopecky Skoda Motorsport Skoda 17m41.7s
10 Khalid Al-Qassimi Citroen Total Abu Dhabi WRT Citroen 19m12.0s

14th June, 2015