Neuville dominates day one of Rally Sweden


Thierry Neuville dominated day one of Rally Sweden, coming out on top of a day long battle with Toyota’s Jari-Matti Latvala to hold a 28 second overnight lead

Latvala was the overnight leader after his win on the short Karlstad stage, but Neuville was quickest out of the blocks.

The Belgian Hyundai driver won Stages 2 and 3 to take the lead before Latvala snatched it back with a quickest time in stage 4.

However after mid-day service Neuville went on the attack and reclaimed the lead with a hat-trick of stage times to finish the day 28 seconds ahead of the Finn.

Rounding out the final podium position is Ott Tanak who won the final stage of the day to win the place from Citroen’s Kris Meeke.

Meeke blamed his slower time on losing the studs in his tyres, limiting his pace.

Despite this, after the disaster on the Rallye Monte Carlo, the French manufacturer was relieved to have both of its new C3 WRCs in the top ten with Craig Breen in eighth.

Stéphane Lefebvre rounds out the top ten in the old DS3 WRC.

Championship leader Sébastien Ogier had a difficult day.

Running first on the road, the M-Sport driver got the worst of the conditions and struggled for grip.

He ended the day in fifth place, 55 seconds down on the leader.

Current Championship leader Sébastien Ogier was first on the road throughout the day and struggled for grip, ending the day in fifth place. Photo Credit: Jaanus Ree/Red Bull Content Pool.

Mads Ostberg had a difficult return to the WRC in his brand new team.

Firstly, he received a 50 second time penalty when a gearbox change over ran and then the Ford Fiesta WRC’s rear wing detached itself when flat in sixth gear on stage five.

This meant he had to run the rest of the afternoon with limited aerodynamics negatively affected the handling of the Fiesta.

The resulted in him retiring the car before stage 8 on safety grounds.

Another retirement on the day was Toyota’s Juho Hanninen after a crash on stage five.

Elfyn Evans had a solid day and despite picking up a puncture in the morning, the DMACK Fiesta set top 10 times throughout the day to end in ninth.

In WRC2, local hero Pontus Tidemand has a commanding 45 second lead at the top of the class in his works Skoda Fabia R5.

Teemu Suninen is second on his first outing for the M-Sport team and young Norwegian star Ole Veiby Christian rounding out the podium in his Skoda.

Gus Greensmith on his first outing with the M-Sport team, ended the day in a creditable fifth in class just 28 seconds down on his senior team-mate Éric Camilli.

In WRC Trophy Valeriy Gorban lead the category in his Mini John Cooper Works WRC after his only rival Lorenzo Bertelli retired on the first stage of the day.

In WRC3, the only competitor Louise Cook still leads despite spending nearly nine minutes in a ditch on stage 2.