Categories: News

Evans leads after first day of Rally Monza, Neuville is third

©  AFP

Elfyn Evans (Toyota Yaris WRC) has finished the first day of the Rally di Monza, the closing race of the 2021 World Rally Championship, as leader. Evans has a small lead of 1.4 seconds over first pursuer and World Cup leader Sébastien Ogier (Toyota Yaris WRC). Thierry Neuville (Hyundai i20 Coupé WRC) follows in third.

Laurens Van HeuverswijnSource: BELGIAN

The first day of competition was split into two parts. The first four stages were all driven in the mountains, the next three were set out on and around the Autodrome Nationale di Monza. Sébastien Ogier reigned in the mountains, where he won three of the four stages. Evans was stronger in the afternoon. On stage five, Ogier encountered a brake problem and lost the lead to Evans. The Welshman has to make up seventeen points on Ogier to become world champion. With the current standings, Ogier is world champion for the eighth time. “I had a good morning in the mountains. In the afternoon I had a little problem with the brakes, but all in all it was a good day,” said Ogier at the finish. “I am satisfied with my day. I still have a lot of work ahead of me in the mountain stages of tomorrow.”

Thierry Neuville, like quite a few riders, was looking for grip on the damp course on Friday morning. During the first ride on the track, a gearbox problem arose, which was later rectified during the service. Neuville won one stage on Friday afternoon and finished the day in third. “Overall I am satisfied with the performance of the car. But we still need to find some speed. The feeling is good, I don’t know why the speed doesn’t follow. It’s weird and complicates the work of improving the car for tomorrow.”

Kalle Rovanperä (Toyota Yaris WRC) finished the day in ninth place. The young Finn has a frustrating rally. Rovanperä’s job is not to take any risks and to finish in the top seven in the event of a problem with Ogier and Evans. His employer Toyota still needs five points to win the World Championship with the brands. “It’s an important weekend for the team and we just have to do this job,” Rovanperä said in the media zone.

Besides Neuville and Wydaeghe, there are two other Belgians in action in Monza. Grégoire Munster and Louis Louka (Hyundai i20 N Rally2) finished the day in 16th overall and 4th in WRC3.

Six classification stages will be organized on Saturday. The Rally di Monza ends on Sunday afternoon.

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