Mud has been slung in just about every direction today.
Six-time world champion Sébastien Ogier was calling last year’s Rally Italy winner Dani Sordo a guest in the World Rally Championship. And the Spaniard was telling the Frenchman to stay at home.
Ogier had returned to his Friday running order disgruntlement and added: “The WRC is just a very guest-friendly championship. Very, very guest-friendly, you hand the victory to the guest on a silver plate.”
On hearing his former team-mate’s view, Sordo – the ‘guest’ with the good day one road position and the big lead – was typically relaxed about it.
“I will not be on the same level as Ogier, so I don’t have anything to say,” said Sordo.
“The rules are like this. If you don’t like rally, don’t come to drive. Maybe he should stay home for half of the year and do half a program like me. You can stay at home, watch the TV and then come to drive. It’s good!”
While Ogier’s war of words with FIA rally director Yves Matton was escalating, along came a second mini-rumble with Sordo too.
Then something special happened. Mid-interview with DirtFish, Sordo called Ogier over and the pair patched things up before our camera.
Being a journalist is about moments like this. The story was coming to the boil and everybody loves a bit of rivalry, a little bit of needle. But this was so much better.
The emotion and respect between these two was laid bare. Ogier is the ultimate, steel-edged competitor. Sordo has some of that steel edge, but is also one of the nicest blokes in the championship. A genuinely lovely fella who has no side, no front and no-nonsense. Ogier relished the chance to patch things up and move on.
And they’ll both move on to one heck of a scrap tomorrow.
Have you worked out what’s going to happen tomorrow? If you want some insight, watch this evening’s Kitchen Table…insight’s one way of describing it!
To be perfectly, brutally honest, anything is possible tomorrow. One thing is sure, Hyundai Motorsport master tacticians Alain Penasse and Andrea Adamo will be drawing up a battle plan for how they can work a situation which has i20s for Ott Tänak, Pierre-Louis Loubet and Jari Huttunen in sixth, seventh and eighth place respectively.
Then, they will be working out whether or not they sacrifice Sordo for Thierry Neuville’s greater drivers’ championship good – but doing that would come at a potential cost in the manufacturers’ championship.
Firstly, Neuville has to get back past Ogier and then, ideally, he needs to build a lead of more than 10 seconds to allow for a post-powerstage, minute-late check-in.
Oh to be a fly on the wall in the Korean concern’s command centre tonight.
But we don’t have long to wait. Two years ago Sardinia provided one of the most fascinating and thrilling Sundays in the history of the world championship. Tomorrow’s shaping up to be just as good.