Estonian rally driver Ott Tänak is in action at the WRC Rally Italia Sardegna, scene of his maiden victory in the series in 2017. Tänak currently lies in second place in the drivers' table.
Thursday's stages, on the mountainous roads surrounding the town of Alghero, Sardinia, saw Hyundai's Thierry Neuville (Belgium), table leader and reigning champion Sebastien Ogier (France) and Elfyn Evans (Wales) in the M-Sport Ford Fiesta all crashing out, with Ogier's Citroen being the worst-hit, breaking its suspension and having to wait for replacement parts, according ERR's sports portal.
Ogier nevertheless was able to post the best time (3.00.0), with Tänak second in the Toyota Yaris, 0.9 seconds behind, and Neuville in third.
A short public test on Thursday evening saw Tänak and his co-driver Martin Järveoja paired off with Ogier (co-driver, Julien Ingrassia). Ogier won this stage also, just ahead of teammate Esapekka Lappi (Finland), with Tänak in third.
Tänak was victorious at the last rally two weeks ago in Portugal, and goes into Rally Sardegna on 140 points to Ogier's 142.
Toyota Gazoo Racing are running four cars this time, with Juho Hänninen of Finland joining Tänak, another Finn, Jari-Matti Latvala and Kris Meeke (Northern Ireland).
Friday's 125 km course is almost identical to the Thursday evening special event, and on Saturday, the 145 km course in the Monte Acuto region takes in the well-known "Micky's jump", designed 15 years ago by Michele Carta. The final day on Sunday follows the same course as last year's event, and boasts some spectacular sea views to contend with the points test for spectators' attention.
Tänak has won three races so far this season, in Sweden, Chile and Portugal.
For readers with Estonia, ERR's sports portal is live-blogging the rally here.
Editor: Andrew Whyte