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Sunday, May 29, 2022

Neuville closing in on victory as Ogier loses third

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The Hyundai driver continued to have the measure over Evans within the two morning levels to drag 20.6s clear heading into the ultimate service of the occasion.

“The efficiency has been good, but additionally the automobile gave me the required confidence,” mentioned Neuville.

“We’ve seen on many rallies there may be all the time one automobile a little bit bit forward of the opposite, and I believe this weekend our bundle has been sturdy.” 

Hyundai’s Dani Sordo was the star of the morning loop profitable each levels to climb to 3rd general, 1.6s forward of champion chief Sebastien Ogier.

Toyota’s Kalle Rovanpera maintained fifth whereas 10.1s separated M-Sport’s Gus Greensmith, Oliver Solberg (Hyundai) and WRC debutant Nil Solans (Hyundai) within the battle for sixth.   

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An early morning begin meant crews tackled the opening stage of the day in darkness, including but an additional problem in navigating a difficult 9.1km Santa Marina stage.

Sordo made probably the most of his native information to win the check by  0.7s from rally chief Neuville, however the Spaniard was crucially 1.7s quicker than Ogier, leapfrogging the Toyota into third general by half a second.

“I used to be probably not assured,” mentioned Ogier. “I did not see very nicely, so I struggled a bit in there.”

Neuville took extra trip of nearest rival Evans, who may solely set the third quickest time.

“I wasn’t positive if it was sufficient,” mentioned Neuville. “There are lots of cuts and I’m nonetheless afraid to get a puncture. I had a clear run and within the daylight it will likely be higher.”

Now again with a completely functioning Ford Fiesta after yesterday’s encounter with the limitations, Adrien Fourmaux set the fifth quickest time, solely 2.1s shy of Sordo.

Dani Sordo, Candido Carrera, Hyundai Motorsport Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC

Photograph by: Austral / Hyundai Motorsport

Rovanpera was the slowest of the WRC runners some 10.4s adrift however the Finn, competing the occasion for the primary time in a WRC automobile, maintained a cushty fifth general.

“It was mainly only a test of the notes,” mentioned Rovanpera. “We’ve nothing to drive for, so I do not wish to take any dangers.”

Sordo’s sturdy begin to the day continued with a second stage win on the ultimate check of the morning loop, a primary move by means of Riudecanyes, which can host the Energy Stage later at the moment.

A easy run by means of the check allowed Sordo to clock the quickest time, pipping rally chief Neuville by 0.2s, however extra importantly the trouble was 1.2s quicker than Ogier within the struggle for third general.

“I misplaced a little bit little bit of time in a single nook however I attempted to do my finest,” mentioned Sordo. “It is so enjoyable to do that and Seb is a world champion, so to struggle with him is sweet.”

After seeing the hole to 3rd lengthen to 1.6s, Ogier added: “There’s not a lot extra I can do. I slid a bit close to the top. The automobile just isn’t unhealthy and it isn’t over.”

Evans continued to battle to search out the tempo in his Yaris, dropping one other 3.5s to Neuville within the tussle for victory. The Toyota driver reported that there have been “fairly just a few exchanges to make” to the automobile at service earlier than the ultimate two levels. 

Teammate Rovanpera was fortunate to not incur a proper rear puncture after he clipped a kerb in direction of the top of the stage, damaging his wheel.

The crews will compete a second move of the levels in a while Sunday morning to conclude the rally. 

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