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World title hopeful Tanak seizes Rally of Italy lead

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Alghero (Italy) (AFP)

Estonian Ott Tanak stepped up his bid to grab the world championship lead as he took a healthy advantage on the third day of the Rally of Italy on Saturday.

The Toyota driver trails six-time defending world champion Sebastien Ogier by two points in the overall standings, but the Frenchman crashed out of contention in Sardinia on Friday.

The 31-year-old Tanak, bidding for a third straight win after emerging victorious in Chile and Portugal, will take a 25.9sec lead into Sunday's final day.

Spaniard Dani Sordo of Hyundai sits second, with Finland's Teemu Suninen third, 42.9sec adrift of Tanak, who posted the fastest times in all six of Saturday's specials.

World title contender Thierry Neuville, who is only eight points behind Tanak in the standings, could only battle to seventh place, almost two-and-a-half minutes off the pace.

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