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Friday, June 14, 2024

Neuville holds off Ogier to keep up slender lead

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Hyundai driver Neuville gained solely one among Friday’s 5 levels, however the defending rally winner clocked a collection of constant instances to steer 2011 Acropolis conqueror Ogier by 2.8s.

Championship and in a single day rally chief Kalle Rovanpera managed to restrict the injury of beginning first on the street to finish Friday third, 25.5s adrift, with Toyota title rival Elfyn Evans an extra 5.5s again in fourth.

Hyundai’s Esapekka Lappi held fifth forward of Toyota’s Takamoto Katsuta, with Dani Sordo sitting seventh within the third Hyundai.

M-Sport Ford endured one other tough day that began with Pierre-Louis Loubet retiring from the day’s motion earlier than stage two with a suspected water pump difficulty. Ott Tanak ran as excessive as fourth earlier than a late departure from a tyre becoming zone prompted a time penalty, dropping the 2019 world champion to ninth.

The morning’s sizzling, dry climate continued into the afternoon presenting a lot drier roads than these beforehand navigated, which featured puddles left by Storm Daniel.

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The complexion of the rally modified earlier than the afternoon’s motion begun when Tanak suffered a water pump difficulty throughout the mid-point tyre becoming zone. It was mounted, however Tanak left the zone 22 minutes late, incurring 3m40s time penalty.

Ogier clocked the quickest time by way of the afternoon’s first check, stage 4, the second cross by way of Loutraki (10.37km). Officers in the end cancelled the stage for crowd security causes after eight of the 9 remaining Rally1 vehicles accomplished the route.

The eight-time world champion, competing in a partial season, was 2.2s sooner than rally chief Neuville, who managed to extend his total rally result in 2.4s.

Sébastien Ogier, Toyota Gazoo Racing WRT

Picture by: Toyota Racing

The stage was held in sizzling and dry circumstances, which proved to be an obstacle for the early runners. Rovanpera, beginning first on the street, dropped to 3rd total behind Ogier after posting a time 6.0s slower than his Toyota team-mate.

Evans and Lappi shared fourth spot total, 15.6s shy of the outright tempo. Lappi confirmed improved tempo to set the third quickest time on stage 4, however the Finn was then pressured to drag over on a street part to repair a leaking radiator.

The loop’s second stage featured damp patches, which once more performed to the benefit of Pirelli’s tender tyres.

Neuville made probably the most of a bet to run 4 softs for the bumpy cross by way of stage 5 (Livadia (21.03km), because the Belgian set a blistering benchmark, 5.0s sooner than Ogier.

“Powerful to make a [tyre] alternative earlier than the stage, in the long run I mentioned go all in,” mentioned Neuville. “What we are able to take now will probably be good for tomorrow, however it wasn’t a pleasant stage to be sincere.”

It appeared Neuville would declare a second stage win of the occasion up to now, earlier than a fired up Tanak lit up the timing screens. Benefitting from a greater street place following his water pump delay, the Estonian was 5.9s sooner than Neuville.

Nevertheless, Neuville left the stage with headlines as he prolonged this rally result in 7.4s over Ogier, who elected to protect some his tender tyre allocation.

“It was the appropriate alternative for there however rally may be very lengthy and we do not have that many softs,” Ogier mentioned of Neuville’s time and full-soft tyre alternative. “It is all about technique.”

Lappi managed to pilot his wounded Hyundai to the fourth quickest time forward of team-mate Sordo and Katsuta.

Thierry Neuville, Martijn Wydaeghe, Hyundai World Rally Team Hyundai i20 N Rally1

Thierry Neuville, Martijn Wydaeghe, Hyundai World Rally Group Hyundai i20 N Rally1

Picture by: Dufour Fabien / Hyundai Motorsport

Rovanpera bore the brunt of the slippery free gravel being first automotive on the street. The Finn was faster than Evans, however slipped 20.2s behind rally chief Neuville within the total standings.

Rovanpera continued to undergo in stage six (Elatia, 28.32km), the longest of the day. The Toyota driver dropped 10s however managed to carry onto third total.

Regardless of shedding the highest aircraft of his GR Yaris’ rear wing, Ogier was 4.6s faster than Neuville’s, who suffered a suspected rear differential difficulty.

Ogier wasn’t the one Toyota driver to undergo injury, as team-mate Evans additionally misplaced a part of his rear wing on his option to the second quickest time that lifted the Welshman from sixth to fourth total.

The stage was gained by Tanak, who claimed his second quickest time of the day. 

Yohann Rossel snatched the lead in WRC2 after M-Sport’s Adrien Fourmaux stopped in stage six with a puncture.

Six levels await the crews on Saturday.

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