Thierry Neuville leads a Hyundai one-two-three on Rally Sweden after a very close second day, with the trio managing to take advantage of their lower running positions.
Neuville leads teammate Andreas Mikkelsen by just 4.9 seconds, with the third i20 WRC of Hayden Paddon a further 7.2 second behind after the three were drivers were able to take full advantage of not having to be some of the first WRC cars on the stages.
“I try to give my best, the car is working well. It’s not easy, I’m fighting with the guys behind. I try to get the speed without taking risks. Running fifth on the road meant I could take advantage of the position.” said leader Neuville.
The Hyundai drivers gains were Ott Tänak’s and Sébastien Ogier’s losses however, with the pair at the front of the running order both being faced with difficult driving conditions throughout the day.
Stage two winner Tanak was eventually left fuming by the end of stage four because of the conditions and said: “The organisers can screw themselves. No plough for the last six kilomoters. It was already unfair to be first on the road here.” – The Toyota driver did later apologise for these comments, but lies in ninth overall at the end of day two with defending champion Ogier down in twelfth in the M-Sport Ford Fiesta.
Fourth at the end of day two is Craig Breen, who looked set for a place in the top three before Paddon won the final stage of the day to leapfrog the Irishman. The Citroen driver did however manage to win two stages on Friday.
The second Citroen of Mads Østberg rounds out the top five, with the Norwegian having a strong performance on his so far only scheduled event for the French team and he is followed by Teemu Suninen who survived damaging his lights pod on the final stage of the day.
Seventh is the leading Toyota of Esapekka Lappi, with Jari-Matti Latvala chasing his teammate in eighth. Tanak is in ninth and the top 10 is rounded out by Kris Meeke.
Elfyn Evans had several issues throughout the day with the Welshman suffering a puncture on stage four as well as suffering a spin on stage six and he lies eleventh at the end of day two.
The WRC2 class sees a very tight battle emerging, with Japanese driver Takamoto Katsuta leading Swede Pontus Tidemand by just 4.0 seconds with Ole Christian Veiby in third 3.2 seconds further behind.
World Rallycross Champion Johan Kristoffersson meanwhile lies twentieth at the end of day two in a Skoda Fabia R5.
Finally the JWRC category is led by Emil Bergviskt with Denis Rådström in second and Ken Torn in third.
Rally Sweden continues this weekend, with the running order of the leaders set to change ahead of Saturday’s action.