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Saturday, March 2, 2024

Neuville claims early lead after tremendous particular stage win

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Neuville produced a dedicated run by Thursday night time’s 3.2km tremendous particular, held on a mixture of tarmac and gravel roads across the metropolis of Olbia.

Mirroring his tremendous particular stage win to start out the earlier spherical in Portugal, the Belgian clocked a time 0.5s sooner than his nearest rival, which on this event was Toyota’s Takamoto Katsuta.

“I had stage,” stated Neuville. “I believe it may be powerful and the situations shall be free and likewise fairly tough. I hope we will do rally and we really feel well-prepared.

“It is going to be attention-grabbing to see what the tyre decisions shall be now in comparison with tomorrow.”

Katsuta loved a spell on the high of the timing sheets following a clear run, however was pipped by Neuville, the penultimate automobile within the stage.

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Elfyn Evans emerged third quickest solely two tenths shy of Katsuta, however forward of championship chief and Toyota team-mate Kalle Rovanpera, who was a second off the tempo. Rovanpera and his Finnish steady mate Esapekka Lappi posted similar occasions.

Takamoto Katsuta, Aaron Johnston, Toyota Gazoo Racing WRT NG Toyota GR Yaris Rally1

Picture by: Crimson Bull Content material Pool

“I believe now we have to essentially take into consideration the championship, for certain,” stated Rovanpera, who holds a 46-point lead over Neuville.

“We all know that it is going to be powerful for the automobile and likewise for us, and opening the highway right here means a win shall be fairly troublesome. We now have to be intelligent.”

Hyundai’s Ott Tanak was sixth quickest having recovered from a small engine hearth that hampered his morning shakedown. The Estonian was half a second sooner than his team-mate and two-time Sardinia winner Dani Sordo.

Adrien Fourmaux led M-Sport Ford’s cost in eighth in entrance of Craig Breen, whereas Gus Greensmith was compelled to finish the stage with out with the ability to hear his co-driver’s pacenotes.

“The crew forgot to place a lead within the automobile so I can’t connect with the intercom,” stated a pissed off Greensmith. “I hope we will discover a spare one as there is no such thing as a level doing tomorrow.”

Pierre-Louis Loubet accomplished the Rally1 entries in eleventh place.

All three groups tackled the stage having made modifications to their automobiles to alleviate elevated cockpit temperatures crews have been affected by within the new Rally1 automobiles.

Toyota sported a brand new roof vent to its GR Yaris, whereas Hyundai and M-Sport fitted reflective roofs to their I20 Ns and Pumas respectively, alongside further air flow retailers.

Crews will return on Friday to sort out eight gravel phases punctuated by a midpoint service.

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