Categories: News

Thierry Neuville takes the lead in Rally of Spain

©  ISOPIX

Thierry Neuville and Martijn Wydaeghe (Hyundai i20 Coupé WRC) close the second day of the Rally of Spain as leaders. The duo are 16.4 seconds ahead of first pursuer Elfyn Evans (Toyota Yaris WRC).

Jens HeylenSource: BELGIAN

Thanks to some fastest times on Saturday afternoon, Sébastien Ogier (Toyota Yaris WRC) outran his first pursuer Dani Sordo until he stalled the engine on the final stage and lost a large part of his lead. Dani Sordo (Hyundai i20 Coupé WRC) is fourth at 1.2 seconds behind the Frenchman.

Thierry Neuville continued in the morning line on Saturday afternoon and won two stages in a row, the second tied with Sébastien Ogier feeling more comfortable and also fastest in the third stage of the second loop. It was the first stage in which Neuville was not fastest since KP 4 on Friday afternoon. “I was a bit more careful in the cuts”, said the Belgian at the finish of KP 12. Elfyn Evans did not have the best afternoon and is already facing a 16.4 second deficit on Thierry Neuville who is well on his way to, just like in 2019, to win the Spanish Rally. Back then it was still a mixed event with gravel and asphalt rides. This year’s rally of Spain is a full asphalt rally.

It took nine rides before we got to see the best Sébastien Ogier in Spain. In the KP 10 he drove the second fastest time. In KP 11 he set the same time as Neuville to win the stage in KP 12 and so far out on Dani Sordo who was within 0.2 seconds this afternoon.

The final show stage in the streets of Salou was well attended by thousands of rally fans. Neuville was the fastest again, his sixth stage win of the day, ahead of Dani Sordo and Elfyn Evans. Ogier stalled the engine on this stage, was eighth fastest and in one fell swoop lost a large part of the lead he had built over Sordo this afternoon. The Frenchman was 5.7 seconds slower than Sordo, reducing the gap between third and fourth place to 1.2 seconds. Tomorrow there are still four classification stages left for the drivers. The rally of Spain ends on Sunday afternoon.

At the current position, Sébastien Ogier is not yet a world champion and the denouement will follow, just like last year, in the rally of Monza. Even then Evans and Ogier struggled for the world title and it was ultimately the Frenchman who became world champion after a slipper from Evans on a snowy course.

(Belgian)

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