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Wednesday, February 28, 2024

Lappi fights again to steer Ogier by 0.1s

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Eight-time world champion Ogier took a 16.3s lead over Lappi heading into the afternoon’s three phases after winning two of the three morning tests, held in largely dry circumstances. Nevertheless, Lappi starred within the moist to seize the rally lead on the ultimate stage of the day, regardless of choosing up a left rear puncture.

Lappi’s team-mate Thierry Neuville headed to the service in third, 18.6s adrift after a handbrake subject, whereas world champion Kalle Rovanpera climbed from seventh to fourth however stays 46.1s in arrears.

Toyota’s Takamoto Katsuta (+47.4s), Elfyn Evans (+1m05.6s) and M-Sport’s Ott Tanak (+1m09.8s) accomplished the highest seven. M-Sport’s Pierre-Louis Loubet crashed within the day’s closing stage, whereas Dani Sordo lost more than three minutes to a roll in the morning in the third Hyundai.

The climate closed in for the beginning of the afternoon loop as spots of rain started to fall firstly of stage 5 (Tantariles), the roughest of the morning loop.

Ogier was unable to repeat his stage-winning efficiency of the morning as nearest rival Lappi got here to the fore, slashing the Frenchman’s rally lead from 16.3s to eight.7s.

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The Finn produced a mistake free run and was aided by a call to take 4 softs and one arduous tyre. Ogier, who was 7.6s slower, carried an additional spare wheel having chosen two hards and 4 softs.

There was nonetheless drama for third-placed Loubet as in-car cameras captured the Frenchman desperately attempting to have interaction a gear, earlier than transferring to the beginning line. The difficulty stopped him from beginning the stage in his appropriate time slot, leading to a three-minute penalty.

Loubet finally handed by the stage in street mode after officers had been compelled to cancel the stage due for spectator security causes. Seven Rally1 entries had already handed by at this level, Sordo the one different Rally1 automotive to run by at street velocity and likewise handed a nominal time.

Sébastien Ogier, Vincent Landais, Toyota Gazoo Racing WRT Toyota GR Yaris Rally1

Picture by: Toyota Racing

Neuville, who mirrored Lappi’s tyre technique, clocked the second quickest time previous to the stoppage which helped the Belgian climb to fourth general. He set the time regardless of battling intermittent handbrake points.

Evans was fourth quickest forward of Tanak, who discovered an improved steadiness in his M-Sport Ford Puma.

Hyundai’s sturdy begin to the afternoon continued when Neuville claimed stage six (Terranova), regardless of ongoing handbrake woes.

Neuville was 2.6s sooner than Lappi, who in flip took one other two seconds out of Ogier’s lead in a stage that had turn into significantly rutted, particularly within the treacherous moist and muddy closing sector.

Evans appeared to wrestle essentially the most with this sector, the Welshman proving the slowest Rally1 runner with a time 9.1s shy of Neuville that dropped him to fourth general.

“It’s kind of loopy now, you want a four-wheel drive pickup in there I feel. It is like Dakar,” mentioned Evans.

The stage was crimson flagged after the Rally1 crews handed by when WRC2 title contender Gus Greensmith went off the street. Greensmith and co-driver Jonas Andersson had been okay, though the previous has been taken to hospital for precautionary checks because of the significance of the influence.

UPDATE: Greensmith will stay in hospital in a single day for remark.

 

The rain intensified for the second cross of the 49.9km Monte Lerno take a look at. This performed into the fingers of Rovanpera, who was first into the take a look at.

Elfyn Evans, Scott Martin, Toyota Gazoo Racing WRT Toyota GR Yaris Rally1

Elfyn Evans, Scott Martin, Toyota Gazoo Racing WRT Toyota GR Yaris Rally1

Picture by: Toyota Racing

The Toyota driver, famend for his abilities in moist and slippery circumstances, pushed arduous to attain a primary stage win of the occasion. He jumped from seventh to fourth general after posting a time 2.1s sooner than Lappi.

Lappi impressively managed a left rear puncture to take 6.8s out of Ogier by the stage to grab the rally lead.

“There was no have to push more durable, one tenth is sufficient,” joked Lappi. “Glad to be on the end, that was fairly a tough stage and we received a left rear puncture as nicely.”

There was nonetheless additional drama for M-Sport as Tanak suffered water pump subject, which price him 32.9s. The day worsened for team-mate Loubet, who appeared to endure a mechanical subject which led to him crashing out through the stage.

Evans additionally hit hassle when he suffered a entrance proper puncture with seven kilometres remaining within the stage leading to a 42.7s time loss.

Toksport Skoda’s Sami Pajari led M-Sport’s Adrien Fourmaux in WRC2 forward of Saturday’s eight phases.



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