WRC – Neuville closes on dwelling victory at Ypres Rally

2021 Ypres Rally Belgium – Saturday afternoon report

2021 WRC - Ypres Rally Belgium - T. Neuville / M. Wydaeghe (DPPI / Gregory Lenormand)

Thierry Neuville remained firmly heading in the right direction for an emotional dwelling victory at Ypres Rally Belgium after a quick and livid second leg on Saturday.

Searching a primary win of the FIA World Rally Championship season, Neuville heads Hyundai i20 World Rally Automotive team-mate Craig Breen by 10.1sec with a day remaining at this eighth spherical.

After Friday’s frantic battle in Flanders’ asphalt farm lanes, after which they had been separated by 7.6sec, the pair had been once more in a category of their very own on slender quick roads south of Ypres.

Breen threw down the gauntlet to win the opening two pace exams and trim the deficit to three.5sec. Neuville fought again to beat the Irishman within the subsequent two and attain mid-leg service along with his lead as much as 6.8sec.

He added two extra stage wins this afternoon in comparison with Breen’s one, extending his benefit because the Hyundai drivers appeared content material to carry place whereas a trio of Toyota Yaris automobiles fought for the ultimate podium place behind.

Hyundai restarted with a podium lockout however Ott Tänak dropped three minutes within the opening take a look at stopping to vary a puncture. A defective jack added to the Estonian’s woes as he plunged to sixth.

As a substitute Elfyn Evans, Kalle Rovanperä and championship chief Sébastien Ogier battled all day for third and had been lined by 4.3sec on the shut. Welshman Evans gained one morning stage and Ogier scored two quickest occasions this afternoon.

Evans completed greater than half a minute adrift of Breen however with a vital 3.3sec in hand over Rovanperä. Ogier was sad on soiled roads this morning however felt extra snug this afternoon and closed to inside 1.0sec of the younger Finn.

Toyota’s problem was down to 3 after Takamoto Katsuta crashed closely within the morning Dikkebus stage. The Japanese driver hit a bump in a quick nook which threw his Yaris right into a ditch. He and co-driver Keaton Williams had been unharmed however their rally was over.

Pierre-Louis Loubet additionally retired when the Frenchman drifted extensive right into a ditch on the exit of a good proper nook in Hollebeke and his i20 couldn’t be retrieved.

Their demise promoted new FIA WRC3 chief Sébastien Bedoret into seventh in a Škoda Fabia. The Belgian eased forward of class championship chief Yohan Rossel from France by 0.9sec. Native driver Pieter Jan Michiel Cracco was ninth with fellow countryman Vincent Verschueren finishing the leaderboard.

Within the Junior WRC Championship, Jon Armonstrong continues to steer the class forward of Sami Pajari in 2nd, with a cushty benefit of over one minute. Robert Virves completes the in a single day podium.

The main focus now switches 300km east for Sunday’s finale on the Spa-Francorchamps race circuit, close to the German border. Two an identical levels are pushed twice, overlaying 40.52km, mixing nation roads with iconic monitor sections corresponding to Eau Rouge, Raidillon and Malmedy. The rally ends with bonus factors accessible within the Energy Stage.

The provisional standings could be consulted here.


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