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Friday, February 23, 2024

Ogier protects lead, Evans hangs onto second on Sunday morning

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In a single day chief Ogier adopted a no danger strategy to Sunday morning’s three phases to guard his place. Consequently, the eight-time world champion’s 35.8s benefit decreased to 22.5s over Evans.

Evans nearly managed to carry off a charging Neuville, though the pair had been cut up by 2.7s heading into the ultimate stage.

Kalle Rovanpera remained in a lonely fourth, 1m50.8s adrift, however forward of Hyundai’s Dani Sordo by 2m54.1s, with Skoda’s Gus Greensmith the highest WRC2 runner in sixth general.

The ultimate day kicked off with a fourth cross by the now closely rutted Las Dunas superspecial, which as soon as once more offered loads of motion.

M-Sport privateer Jourdan Serderidis clouted a rock whereas his returning team-mate Pierre Louis Loubet, who retired yesterday, ran huge and ploughed over a rocky embankment.

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Hyundai’s Sordo additionally ran huge at a proper hander and briefly stalled his i20 N. Fortunately the trio all managed to achieve the stage end comparatively unscathed.

The stage was gained by Neuville because the Belgian claimed his fifth quickest time of the occasion so far, nibbling one other 0.2s out of Evans within the combat for second. The hole decreased to 4.1s.

Chief Ogier elected to not take any dangers with the ruts to cruise by 3.8s adrift of pacesetter Neuville.

Crews headed to the longest stage of the rally subsequent, a 35.63km run by Otates, that featured sections from yesterday’s El Mosquito check, which meant grip ranges would differ.

Whereas many drivers elected for a measured strategy, Evans and Neuville had been on most assault because the combat over second continued.

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

Photograph by: Toyota Racing

It was Evans who gained that battle, claiming his first stage win of the rally at a vital second. The Welshman managed to edge Neuville throughout all the splits, earlier than ending 1.7s sooner than his rival to open up a 5.8s buffer.

“It is exhausting work!. It was very slippery and actually exhausting to evaluate. It seems like we did not accomplish that dangerous,” stated Evans.

Ogier described his run as a “zero danger” effort and dropped 9.0s within the course of as he prevented being caught out by the slippery sections of the stage.

The Rally1 area navigated the stage efficiently, though Tanak reached the end with a damper drawback.

Nonetheless, a prolonged stoppage for WRC2 driver Adrien Fourmaux, to vary an alternator belt, promoted Tanak into the ultimate factors paying positions in tenth.

The battle for second general took one other twist within the last stage of the morning. Neuville claimed stage 22 with a 1.5s margin over Tanak, however extra importantly he took 3.1s from Evans, who misplaced time after working huge on the first nook.

Neuville additionally revealed that Evans’ GR Yaris was carrying a suspension drawback picked up from the earlier stage.

“I proceed pushing. We cannot surrender. Elfyn has been fixing his automotive – he touched one thing and broken his suspension within the earlier stage,” stated Neuville after bringing the hole to second right down to 2.7s.“He’s going to need to be courageous to go flat out and danger all the pieces.”

In WRC2, Greensmith protected his lead whereas Emil Lindholm and Oliver Solberg inherited second and third respectively, after Fourmaux surrendered second following his situation in stage 22.

The El Brinco powerstage will conclude the rally later at this time.

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