Championship chief Rovanpera began the day third, 25.5s down on in a single day chief Neuville, however returned to the service park with a 2m04.4s rally lead over Hyundai’s Dani Sordo.
Hyundai’s Neuville retired from the lead on the afternoon’s first stage, handing the benefit to Ogier. Nevertheless, the Toyota driver then misplaced 4 minutes to a suspension difficulty on the afternoon’s final take a look at, dropping the Frenchman to fourth general.
On account of the late drama, Toyota’s Elfyn Evans ended the day third (+2m09.4s) regardless of dropping greater than a minute to an overheating points on his GR Yaris within the closing stage of the morning loop.
Behind Ogier, M-Sport’s Ott Tanak moved as much as fifth (+4m49.7s), the Estonian hampered by a 3m40s penalty on Friday after repairs to a water pump difficulty meant he was late leaving a tyre becoming zone.
Hyundai’s Esapekka Lappi introduced his wounded i20 N by means of the day’s closing stage in sixth forward of Toyota’s Takamoto Katsuta, who suffered pair of punctures through the afternoon.
The afternoon loop began in dramatic style as Neuville’s hopes of repeating final 12 months’s Acropolis victory vanished on stage 10 (Pavliani, 24.25km).
The Belgian struck a gap within the street 11 kilometres in, which bent his entrance proper wheel and broken the suspension past a roadside restore.
Neuville’s demise handed the result in Ogier, who accomplished the stage with the second quickest time behind pacesetter Rovanpera.
Sébastien Ogier, Vincent Landais, Toyota Gazoo Racing WRT Toyota GR Yaris Rally1
Photograph by: Toyota Racing
Driving on roads that have been a lot drier in comparison with the primary move however even rougher, Rovanpera edged Ogier by 0.2s and diminished the hole to the brand new rally chief to 12.6s.
Sordo inherited third (+1m48.2s) however was simply 1.6s forward of Evans after the Welshman’s suspected overheating difficulty was remedied throughout the noon service, permitting him to submit the third quickest time on stage 10.
Greece’s tough gravel roads continued to chew in stage 11 (Karoutes), as Lappi and Katsuta have been each delayed by issues.
Katsuta dropped 4m35.7s after stopping twice to alter punctured entrance left and proper tyres. The delay was sufficient to permit Lappi to move the Japanese driver within the stage, though the Finn’s automotive wasn’t in impolite well being because of an alternator failure and a transmission difficulty.
These introduced Tanak again into the struggle, transferring to fifth forward of Katsuta and Lappi.
On the entrance, the battle for the victory raged on with Rovanpera once more pipping Ogier by 0.2s to win the stage, closing to inside 12.4s.
There was extra Positive information for Toyota because the recovering Evans leapfrogged Sordo by 4.1s to create a 1-2-3 within the general standings for the Japanese model. The place change got here regardless of Evans struggling a tyre off the rim in the direction of the tip of the stage.
However the closing stage of the loop (Eleftherochori, 18.02km) supplied one more twist as Ogier grew to become the newest driver to select up a mechanical drawback on the abrasive roads.
The eight-time world champion suffered a left rear suspension failure and a puncture, costing him the lead and 4 minutes within the course of.
Dani Sordo, Candido Carrera, Hyundai World Rally Group Hyundai i20 N Rally1
Photograph by: Fabien Dufour / Hyundai Motorsport
Ogier limped to the stage finish and was seen engaged on his automotive to permit him to make the 27 kilometres drive to the Lamia service park.
Group-mate and new rally chief Rovanpera took the stage win by 12.9s from Sordo.
“It was a pleasant battle, in fact not the best to push with Seb as a result of we had the championship to push for,” mentioned Rovanpera. “I believe we had an excellent day, we have been quick however we additionally stored the automotive in a single piece.”
In WRC2, Andreas Mikkelsen will head into Sunday’s phases with a slender 0.4s lead over Gus Greensmith.
The rally will conclude following Sunday’s three phases.