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Tuesday, February 27, 2024

Neuville leapfrogs Evans and Ogier to guide

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Neuville headed to noon service with a 5.1s lead over Evans after a powerful morning headlined by a blistering time on stage 9.

9-time Monte Carlo winner Ogier dropped from second to 3rd, however ended the loop 7.7s adrift.

Ott Tanak maintained fourth (+1m18.6s) regardless of struggling an engine concern on his Hyundai. M-Sport’s Adrien Fourmaux (+2m06.4s) produced a managed drive to finish the loop in fifth forward of team-mate Gregoire Munster, who climbed to sixth (+3m39.1s) in entrance of Hyundai’s Andreas Mikkelsen (+3m44.1s).

Toyota’s Takamoto Katsuta moved to eighth, as his restoration from dropping 5 minutes to an off on Friday continued.

There was drama earlier than the levels begun as Tanak’s i20N failed to fireplace up in parc ferme, which required a tow again to service the place his workforce have been capable of revive the automotive.

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Tanak was capable of full stage 9 (Esparron/Oze 18.79km) however once more suffered an engine concern harking back to the issue he suffered on Thursday evening.

“This morning we had some engine bother the place it’s generally driving and generally not,” stated Tanak, who posted the sixth quickest time.

The stage itself introduced a tricky problem for the crews, because of patches of frost and areas that have been extremely slippy, and it wasn’t lengthy earlier than it caught out one of many drivers.

Mikkelsen flew off the street on the first nook and was fortunate his i20 N discovered an embankment on the exit to make use of as run-off.

Photograph by: McKlein / Motorsport Images

Andreas Mikkelsen, Torstein Eriksen, Hyundai World Rally Workforce Hyundai i20 N Rally1

“In the midst of the nook I flew off the street and we’re tremendous fortunate to be right here,” stated Mikkelsen. “After that, for positive you haven’t any confidence in something anymore.”

It was his team-mate Neuville that stole the present nevertheless, because the Belgian produced a shocking effort to say his fourth stage win of the occasion. The 2020 Monte winner clocked a time 9.6s quicker than rally chief Evans, who discovered the situations “tough to guage”.

Nevertheless, extra importantly Neuville was 18.8s faster than Ogier, who slid to 3rd total. The eight-time world champion put the time loss all the way down to his info being “too protected”.

“I used to be nicely awake this morning,” stated Neuville, who jumped to second total, 6.5s behind Evans. “I anticipated the situations to be worse to be trustworthy, however I had an honest run.”

Whereas Neuville set the tempo, M-Sport’s new signing Munster turned heads by setting his first high three stage time of his top-flight WRC profession to maneuver into sixth total.

Ogier responded on Stage 10 (Les Nonieres-Chichilianne, 20.04km) with a stage win of his personal because the battle for victory took one other twist.

The Frenchman navigated a difficult mountain stage that included a greasy decline to put up a time 2.1s quicker than Neuville.

But it surely was Neuville who shot to the highest of the leaderboard as Evans was with out hybrid increase, which price him 9.5s, handing a 0.9s rally result in the Hyundai driver. Consequently, the trio have been break up by 5.1s.

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

Photograph by: Toyota Racing

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

Katsuta delivered his greatest drive of the rally up to now to clock the third quickest time forward of Tanak, who was capable of handle his engine concern by the take a look at.

Neuville prolonged his lead over Evans to five.1s after sharing the stage 11 (Pellafol/Agnieres-en-Devoluy – 21.37km) victory with team-mate Tanak. Neuville’s time got here regardless of some points together with his pacenotes.

Ogier was 2.6s slower than the duo, whereas Evans dropped an extra 4.2s however held onto second total.

Citroen driver Nikolay Gryazin held a 1.3s lead over Pepe Lopez in WRC2, whereas Oliver Solberg retired from the rally with a double puncture.

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