Latvala Ends Rally Sweden day 2 on Top After Neuville Crash on Final Stage


Jari-Matti Latvala ended up on top of day 2 of Rally Sweden as Thierry Neuville crashed out on the final stage of the day.

For the second rally in a row, Neuville’s dominate lead of the rally vanishes through an accident on the final stage of day 2.

The Belgian held a 43 second lead over Latvala’s Toyota Yaris WRC, going into the Karlstad superspecial stage when he hit block on the side of the track and broke the Hyundai i20 WRC’s steering.

This now leaves Latvala at the head of the field but only by 3.8 seconds from M-Sport’s Ott Tanak.

The other big news story of the day was the cancellation of stage 12 for safety reasons.

Stage 12 is a re-run of stage 9 which saw Tanak set an average speed record of 85mph, 7mph faster than the current record for any WRC stage which was set in Finland last year.

Ott Tanak on his way to setting the record for the fastest average speed time for a WRC stage at 85.65mph, on stage 9. This resulted in the re-run, stage 12, being cancelled on safety grounds. Photo Credit: Jaanus Ree/Red Bull Content Pool

This resulted in the stage being cancelled as a result of advice from the FIA.

While the FIA devised the current regulations to make the cars faster, ironically it appears that they are too fast.

Tanak meanwhile was in impressive form, winning all three of the morning stages, consistently outpacing world champion team-mate Sébastien Ogier.

The Frenchman, freed of the job of clearing the road, was much happier today and ended day 2 in third place only 13 seconds off his team-mate.

Kris Meeke started the day in fourth but dropped the Citroen C3 WRC into a snowbank on stage 14 and lost almost 9 minutes trying to extricate himself, dropping to 12th overall.

His Irish team-mate Craig Breen had a solid day ending up in fifth and gaining important miles for the new Citroen after a short-lived debut in Southern France.

 

Elfyn Evans struggled for grip on the second loop of stages but still ended the day in sixth place.

In WRC2, Pontus Tidemand is in control, the Swedish Skoda driver was fastest on all but one stage of the day to hold an overnight lead of 1 minute and 16 seconds lead at the top of the class and is ninth overall.

M-Sport’s Teemu Suninen holds second but only by 5 seconds from Norwegian Skoda driver Ole Veiby Christian.

Gus Greensmith’s impressive debut for the M-Sport team continues and ends the day fifth in class, only a minute and 46 seconds down on team-mate Éric Camilli.

His only problem throughout the day was a 30 second penalty for late arrival at a time control.

In WRC Trophy Valeriy Gorban is now the only remaining competitor in his Mini John Cooper Works WRC after his only rival Lorenzo Bertelli retired again due to engine problems.