Rally Sweden: Neuville Extends Lead At End of Day Three


Photo Credit: Jaanus Rae

Hyundai driver Thierry Neuville continues to lead Rally Sweden as he extended the margin at the top of the timesheets to 22.7 seconds over Citroen’s Craig Breen.

Neuville continued where he left off on Saturday morning and went on to win four of the eight stages, despite suffering a failed paddle shift on his i20 WRC.

However, with the issue managing to be fixed, the Belgian continued at the front and now has only three more stages on Sunday between him and the top step of the podium.

“The car was working great, okay a small issue today that we could fix, other than that a good job. Good tyre management I think, I’m really pleased and big thanks to the team.” said Neuville.

Behind, Breen continued his fine start to the event, leapfrogging the other Hyundai’s of Andreas Mikkelsen and Haydon Paddon by the end of stage 10 and from there he stayed in a solid second place throughout the day.

Mikkelsen trails Breen by 9.3 seconds in third with Paddon a further 16.6 seconds adrift in fourth.

Mads Østberg is in fifth overnight in the second Citroen as the Norwegian continued to search for a solid setup for the car; at one point having to refer back to the settings he’d previously used earlier in the rally after struggling with the balance of the C3.

Photo Credit: Jannus Rae

Sixth is the leading Toyota of Esapekka Lappi, who sits almost a minute ahead of teammate Jari-Matti Latvala with Teemu Suninen, making his top-level WRC debut this weekend, in eighth in the M-Sport Ford.

Despite winning three stages on Saturday, Ott Tänak see’s himself down in ninth after a bizarre incident with Kris Meeke on stage 13 where the Fin ended up in a ditch after trying to overtake the Irishman when the C3’s engine kept cutting out.

The two collided and Tanak lost over a minute and a half, while Meeke retired at the end of the following stage. The M-Sport duo of Sébastien Ogier and Elfyn Evans lie tenth and eleventh respectively.

WRC2 sees Japanese driver Takamoto Katsuta  continue to top the standings ahead of Pontus Tidemand, while Denis Rådström leads Emil Bergkvist in JWRC.  Finally, World Rallycross Champion Johann Kristoffersson lies 18th overall in his one-off outing in a Skoda Fabia R5.