Neuville fastest in opening stage of Rally Italia Sardegna

by Vince Pettit
Credit: Jaanus Ree/Red Bull Content Pool

Hyundai Motorsport‘s Thierry Neuville leads the overnight standings after the first stage of the 2017 Rally Italia Sardegna.

The Belgian set a fastest time of 2:01.8 during the 2km Ittiri Arena Show stage to top the timesheets ahead of the Ford Fiesta of Ott Tänak by 0.2 seconds.

“I enjoyed that quite a lot,” said Neuville. “The car was working well but the stage was abrasive and the tyres suffered a bit, but I don’t care! A good crowd and a great atmosphere,”

During the stage the Hyundai driver was pitted head-to-head with Sébastien Ogier who finished fifth fastest.

Tänak beat Toyota’s Jari-Matti Latvala (eleventh fastest) despite a small incident where the windscreen wipers on his Ford jammed during the watersplash.

Third-placed Dani Sordo edged out Elfyn Evans by a tenth of a second. Ogier’s time tied him with Hyundai’s Hayden Paddon in fifth place.

Juho Hänninen was one of many who clipped the straw bales lining the course, the Toyota Yaris driver came away with damage to his rear spoiler.

In WRC 2 Yohan Rossel leads the way in his Citroën DS3 R5 ahead of Ole Christian Veiby’s and Jan Kopecky in the pair of Škoda Fabia R5’s.

“I love this stage, a lot of pleasure, good start for me. It will be a hard weekend for the cars, divers and codrivers.” said Rossel.

Jakub Brzeziński heads up the eleven car strong WRC3 field in his Citroën DS3 R3T Max with Enrico Brazzoli and Nil Solans.

In the WRC Trophy Yazeed Al-Rajhi was fastest ahead of Martin Prokop and Jean-Michel Raoux.

JWRC returns with Solans leading the way ahead of Nicolas Ciamin and Julius Tannert.

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