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Wednesday, July 24, 2024

Neuville on target for victory as Ogier problem falters

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Neuville set a blistering tempo throughout the morning’s two levels, successful them each to increase his lead over Toyota’s Ogier to 13.5 seconds, with solely the Energy Stage remaining on Sunday afternoon.

Neuville’s spectacular tempo has additionally put him on the prime of the Sunday standings, the place seven factors are on provide for the quickest driver as per the brand new scoring construction.

Toyota’s Elfyn Evans stays in third total 42s adrift, however is second within the Sunday mixed occasions which means he’s set for six further factors. Hyundai’s Ott Tanak ended the loop fourth total (+1m54.7s) and third for the day in entrance of Ogier.

M-Sport’s Adrien Fourmaux held onto fifth (+3m27.6s) forward of Hyundai’s Andreas Mikkelsen (+5m29s) and Toyota’s Takamoto Katsuta (+8m25.7s).

Gregoire Munster returned to the motion following his crash on Saturday and is in rivalry to select up two Sunday factors.

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After claiming the utmost 18 factors below the brand new construction on Saturday evening, Neuville made his ways clear on Sunday morning with one other 12 factors on the desk.

The Belgian picked up from where he left off on Saturday and engaged full assault mode. The Hyundai driver blitzed stage 15, the third cross by La Breole /Selonnet, which featured black ice patches.

Neuville emerged from the early morning darkness with a time 4.7s quicker than rival Ogier to increase his total result in 8s over the Frenchman.

“The start was a giant push, towards the tip I used to be a bit extra cautious however I suppose everyone has to decelerate on that part – we did properly, I’m pleased with my time,” mentioned Neuville.

Ogier felt he was too cautious however was stunned by the pace of Neuville.

Photograph by: Toyota Racing

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

“It was attention-grabbing circumstances, with some ice in locations,” mentioned Ogier. “I used to be a bit too cautious in some locations most likely. That’s a giant push [from Thierry].”

Tanak set a robust tempo to internet the third quickest time, 1.8s quicker than Evans, who was sitting third total. Evans had opted for the prime tyre technique by operating all softs, however these tyres weren’t optimum on the icy patches.

“I used to be actually too cautious on the finish with the ice – it’s actually tough to guage however all OK,” mentioned Evans.

The M-Sport duo of Fourmaux and Munster have been fifth and sixth. The highest 10 was accomplished by WRC2 runners Yohan Rossel and Pepe Lopez, who posted similar occasions, Katsuta and Nikolay Gryazin. Mikkelsen might solely put up the eleventh quickest time.

The penultimate stage of the rally stage 16 (Digne-les-Bains/Chaudon-Norante) produced an analogous end result within the Neuville versus Ogier head-to-head.

Neuville got here out on prime, successful the stage by 0.2s from Evans whereas Tanak was an extra 2.5s in arrears. Ogier might solely handle a time that was 5.5s slower than Neuville.

“It was good – it’s laborious to guage the pace as a result of it was truly way more slippery than we anticipated at first, and it was getting actually soiled,” mentioned Neuville.

“Up to now it feels good however there’s yet one more stage to go and we have to preserve concentrated.”

Ogier successfully conceded victory to the Hyundai driver.

“It was over after the primary one anyway,” mentioned Ogier. “It’s OK, now we have completed a good weekend however [Thierry] was simply flying so properly completed to him.

“I attempted and it was a very good stage however I’m not one to take silly dangers.”

When pressed on his determination to not take dangers with a tenth Monte win on the road, he added: “I’ve 9 and no person have that so it’s not that dangerous.”

In WRC2, the extreme battle for victory confirmed no indicators of stopping as Lopez took a 0.9s lead over Rossel into the ultimate stage of the rally.

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