Ott Tänak lies in 9th place in the WRC Rally Italia Sardegna as of Friday afternoon, after four speed tests.
Tänak, the reigning world champion, needs to do well at the race to keep a glimmer of hopes of retaining the title in the coronavirus-blighted 2020 WRC season, but so far has struggled to get to grips with the roads in and around Alghero, in the northwest of Sardinia, finishing 27.9 seconds behind Finn Teemu Suninen (Ford) in the first stage.
ERR Sports portal reports that Tänak and co-driver Martin Järveoja have a problem with the Hyundai i20, after initial suspicions it was simply extra weight in the form of two spare tires they were carrying – a procedure teammate Thierry Neuville of Belgium also followed.
Tänak lost another 26.7 seconds on the leader in the second test, 27.4 seconds in the third and another 43.4 seconds in the fourth test, ahead of the maintenance break.
Spaniard Danny Sordo (Hyundai) currently heads the table, folllowed by Teemu Suninen and Sebastien Ogier (Toyota) in third. Welshman Elfyn Evans (Toyota), leading the drivers table by 18 points over Ogier going into the race, lies in fourth.
Two more stages are due to follow on Friday at 5.17 p.m. and just before 6 p.m. Estonian time, before the first day is wrapped up.
Saturday and Sunday's stages are as follows:
Saturday, October 10:
SS7 Monte Lerno 1 - 22.08 km - 8.37 a.m.
SS8 Coiluna Loelle 1 - 15.00 km - 9.38 a.m.
SS9 Monte Lerno 2 - 22.08 km - 11.07 a.m.
SS10 Coiluna Loelle 2 - 15.00 km - 12.08 p.m.
SS11 Sedini Castelsardo 2 - 14.72 km 5.08 p.m.
SS12 Tergu Osilo 2 - 12.81 km - 6.02 p.m.
Sunday, October 11:
SS13 Cala Flumini 1 - 14.06 km - 9.15 a.m.
SS14 Sassari Argentiera 1 - 6.89 km - 10.08 a.m.
SS15 Cala Flumini 2 - 14.06 km - 12.10 p.m.
SS16 Sassari - Argentiera 2 (point stage) - 6.89 km - 1.18 p.m.
Editor: Andrew Whyte