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Friday, December 3, 2021

Neuville pulls away from Evans on Saturday morning

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The Hyundai driver delivered a faultless drive in at occasions difficult foggy circumstances to rework his 0.7 seconds in a single day result in a 9.0s benefit over Evans.

Whereas Evans was unable to compete with Neuville, the Welshman stays comfortably forward of title rival Sebastien Ogier, who might wrap up an eighth crown this weekend if he outscores Evans by six factors.

Ogier seems out of competition for the lead some 32.0s adrift, however a resurgent Hyundai of Dani Sordo is respiratory down his neck, solely 0.2s behind because the battle for ultimate podium spot intensified.

Toyota’s Kalle Rovanpera survived an enormous scare on the ultimate stage to keep up fifth general forward of M-Sport’s Adrien Fourmaux, who got here inside 1.7s of notching up a second profession stage win.

Oliver Solberg and Nil Solans climbed to seventh and eighth after Gus Greensmith hit bother on the ultimate stage of the morning.

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Heavy fog and a humid street floor greeted the drivers for the opening stage of the day, however it did not halt Neuville’s cost.

Persevering with his tempo from Friday, the Belgian chalked up his fifth stage win of the rally up to now, edging Evans by 1.7s, extending his general result in 2.4s.

“Circumstances are a lot dirtier than anticipated and the visibility in some locations was lower than earlier than,” mentioned Neuville. “Not really easy, however we had a very good stage.”

Whereas the hole to Neuville was small, Evans felt he was “too cautious and simply not dedicated sufficient” within the stage.

Elfyn Evans, Scott Martin, Toyota Gazoo Racing WRT Toyota Yaris WRC

Photograph by: Toyota Racing

The bettering Rovanpera was third quickest forward of Ogier, who appeared far more comfy behind the wheel of his Yaris, having battled with understeer and the brand new Pirelli exhausting compound tyres yesterday.

“The automotive is healthier now and I can belief it,” mentioned Ogier. “I believe it is going to be higher immediately, so I’m extra pleased.”

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Ogier’s run eased the stress he was coming below from Sordo, who dropped 0.9s to the Frenchman.

Neuville threw achieved a gauntlet to Evans on the subsequent stage, held below blue skies and clear circumstances, blitzing the take a look at to chalk up one other win.

Crucially he was 4.3s quicker than nearest rival Evans, additional extending his general result in 6.7s, whereas the latter misplaced 1.4s to title rival Ogier.

Nevertheless, arguably the drive of the stage belonged to M-Sport’s Fourmaux, who was solely denied a stage win by Neuville, who pipped the Frenchman by 1.7s.

Neuville prolonged his unbeaten run of stage wins that stretches again to Friday’s Stage 4 on the morning’s ultimate take a look at, however he was made to work exhausting for the quickest time by team-mate Sordo.

In the long run, Neuville pipped the Spaniard by 0.2s because the latter heaped stress on Ogier within the battle for third general.

Evans set the third quickest time however dropped 2.3s to Neuville as Friday’s early chief struggled to match the Hyundai’s.

“I’m nonetheless struggling a bit with the automotive rotation,” mentioned Evans. “I simply can’t get on the facility early sufficient and maintain my line, so we have to work on that.”

Whereas the battle on the entrance was intense, there was loads of drama behind as Rovanpera emerged unscathed from an enormous second that went unseen by tv cameras.

“We had a puncture on the earlier one, so I did not need to take any massive dangers on the cuts,” mentioned Rovanpera. “We had an enormous second on the stage – possibly one of many greatest I’ve ever had – so we had been fortunate to flee that one.”

Earlier within the stage, Greensmith suffered a left rear puncture ensuing within the M-Sport driver operating on a rim for a big chunk of the take a look at, dropping greater than a minute and two spots on the general leaderboard.

The crews will repeat the morning levels this afternoon earlier than taking in a brief blast round a spectator stage at host metropolis Salou to conclude the day.

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