Dani Sordo won every stage on the final day of Roma RallyStars to surpass his new Hyundai team-mate Pierre-Louis Loubet for victory in the class dedicated to current World Rally Championship cars.
Hyundai Junior driver Loubet had started Sunday with a narrow 2.4-second advantage, after Sordo had run wide on SS3 (Santopadre) with an over-running throttle issue on Saturday that had lost him nearly half a minute.
But Sordo bounced back with nine stage wins from nine on Sunday, taking the lead on the first pass of Rocca Santo Stefano.
Though he outpaced Loubet, Sordo’s day wasn’t without issues as he was lacking trust in his pacenotes on the fast and wide Guarcino test and also coped with understeer as his tires overheated on Sunday’s second loop.
Loubet scored a comfortable second place on his debut in a Rally1-spec car, finishing 40s behind Sordo.
Roma RallyStars is the first of two events that Loubet will participate in with a Hyundai i20 WRC in preparation for his part-time WRC schedule that begins with Rally Estonia in September.
M-Sport’s lone Fiesta WRC piloted by “Pedro” completed the RallyStars standings in third place, 12m58.1s behind Sordo.
Pedro, who unlike his Hyundai rivals is a gentleman driver, admitted there were “tears in my eyes” after successfully completing his first event in a Rally1 car.
Like Loubet, Pedro will also be back in a WRC car for Rally di Alba on August 1-2.
Sordo meanwhile will have to settle for an i20 R5 on Rally di Alba, as WRC team-mates Thierry Neuville and Ott Tänak will form Hyundai’s factory line-up in Rally1 cars alongside Loubet and customer driver Luca Pedersoli.