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WRC Rally Italy: Hayden Paddon widens lead as rivals hit trouble

Hayden Paddon Rally Italy 2017Hayden Paddon has extended his Rally Italy lead to 9.2 seconds over Ott Tanak, after former challenger Thierry Neuville hit trouble on the last stage of the morning.

The order through Saturday's early stages remained relatively similar to how things were left on Friday night, with Neuville the main threat to Paddon's lead thanks to a rapid time through SS11 that brought the gap was down to 8.9s from over 13s.

But the Belgian, Paddon's Hyundai team-mate, had no brakes from the start of the Monte Lerno stage that rounded out the morning and lost significant time.

He ends the morning loop 1m10.7s off the lead and has fallen to fourth place.

M-Sport's Tanak was promoted to second as a result and duly went quickest on the last stage of the morning to make sure Paddon is still being kept in check, with the Kiwi struggling with his tyres going off in Monte Lerno.

Jari-Matti Latvala lies third, but demanded that the event organisers award him some time back after he was caught in the dust of the punctured Mads Ostberg.

Latvala has dropped nine seconds to Tanak and sits 13.8s behind the Estonian in the order.

Behind Neuville in fifth is Juho Hanninen who was also promoted on the last stage of the morning as championship leader Sebastien Ogier also collected a puncture, after overtaking Hanninen on the previous stage.

Ogier therefore falls to seventh, with Hanninen's team-mate Esapekka Lappi also moving ahead of the four-time champion and into sixth.

Ostberg is eighth after his problems, while Andreas Mikkelsen, one spot behind, also suffered a puncture on the same Monte Lerno stage.

LEADING POSITIONS AFTER SS12:

PosDriverTeamCarGap
1Hayden Paddon, S.MarshallHyundai MotorsportHyundai2h14m10.1s
2Ott Tanak, M.JarveojaM-Sport World Rally TeamFord9.4s
3Jari-Matti Latvala, M.AnttilaToyota Gazoo Racing WRCToyota23.2s
4Thierry Neuville, N.GilsoulHyundai MotorsportHyundai1m10.7s
5Juho Hanninen, K.LindstromToyota Gazoo Racing WRCToyota1m30.7s
6Esapekka Lappi, J.FermToyota Gazoo Racing WRCToyota1m55.5s
7Sebastien Ogier, J.IngrassiaM-Sport World Rally TeamFord3m09.1s
8Mads Ostberg, O.FloeneM-Sport World Rally TeamFord3m21.4s
9Andreas Mikkelsen, A.JagerCitroen Total Abu Dhabi WRTCitroen5m50.2s
10Eric Camilli, B.VeillasM-Sport World Rally TeamFord7m01.1s


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