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Monday, December 11, 2023

Evans leads Tanak after Neuville crash

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Evans began the day 5.7s behind chief Neuville however the Welshman inherited the rally lead when his Hyundai rival went off the highway in stage 11, which pressured the Neuville to retire from the day’s motion.

The only remaining Hyundai of Esapekka Lappi headed to service in third, 44.8s adrift.

Solely 4.7s coated fourth to seventh with M-Sport’s Pierre-Louis Loubet main the perfect of the remaining.

Toyota’s Sebastien Ogier climbed forward of team-mate Takamoto Katsuta to fifth total, whereas world champion Kalle Rovanpera received three of the 4 levels to sit down poised in seventh.

With the highway order reversed, Rovanpera made probably the most of being first into the levels after troublesome Friday that was headlined by shedding greater than two minutes to a flat tyre.

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The Finn recorded his first stage win since Sweden in February by setting the tempo in stage 9, as he started to shut in on team-mate Ogier, who began the day with a one minute penalty for a security belt infringement on stage 2.

Ogier’s morning additionally began on the again foot because the Frenchman needed to repair a mysterious situation together with his GR Yaris on the highway part earlier than stage.

“[There was] a small mistake was accomplished in service this morning and we needed to repair it [before SS9], the automotive would have been undriveable in any other case,” mentioned Ogier, who was 1.4s slower than Rovanpera.

Ott Tänak, Martin Järveoja, M-Sport Ford World Rally Workforce Ford Puma Rally1

Photograph by: McKlein / Motorsport Images

Tanak, far more comfy within the Ford Puma, produced arguably probably the most spectacular drive contemplating his highway place, to clock the second quickest time 1.2s adrift of Rovanpera.

Regardless of going through the worst of the circumstances, Neuville was capable of tame his Hyundai on the roads made slippery from gravel being dragged onto the floor to increase his rally lead by setting the fourth quickest time.

Evans admitted he was too cautious within the stage and dropped 4.8s to Neuville, who pushed his lead out to 10.5s.

Neuville was capable of eke out his benefit over Evans to a different three tenths after stage 10, which was received by Rovanpera, who pipped Ogier by 0.1s.

Tanak continued his cost and in addition took trip of Evans to shut inside 16.1s of the Toyota driver within the battle for second.

Nonetheless, the battle for victory took a decisive twist on the following take a look at, stage 11, the one model new addition to this yr’s route.

Once more going through the more severe of the highway circumstances, Neuville misjudged an extended proper hander, 5.2km into the ten.13km take a look at and crashed out of the rally.

The Hyundai driver clipped a rock with the left rear of his i20 N which despatched the automotive into timber lining the highway and brought about important injury to the automotive. Neuville and co-driver Martijn Wydaeghe had been unhurt within the incident.

This accident handed Evans the rally lead from Tanak with Lappi sitting within the closing podium place. The stage was received by Rovanpera to finish a hat-trick of quickest stage occasions to maneuver inside 2.6s of Ogier within the battle for sixth.

Ogier spoiled Rovanpera’s likelihood of a clear sweep of the morning levels after edging the Finn in stage 12, who misplaced time to wild slide, by 0.7s. Evans clocked the third quickest time to drag 3.5s from Tanak however was additionally fortunate after skimming barrier throughout his run.

Citroen driver Yohan Rossel sits eighth total to steer the WRC2 class. Crews will return to the levels this afternoon following a noon service.

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