WRC – Neuville leads as Tänak flies

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Hyundai’s Thierry Neuville continues to head the Rally Sweden leaderboard and has extended his advantage to 32.8 seconds by Saturday’s mid-point service. Jari-Matti Latvala remains second but the Finn is under increasing pressure from third-placed Ott Tänak, who has slashed the overnight gap from 21.6 to just 9.2 seconds.

Today’s route was scheduled to take in two loops of three stages before the crews head south for the second and final run around the Karlstad super special stage. Neuville has measured his pace, controlling the lead with a second and two third-fastest stage times. Latvala has run without problems but admitted to being too careful in places. He was also the only driver to take two spare tyres and suffered with the extra weight in the Yaris WRC. Tänak has been flying in the Fiesta WRC and with three fastest times the Estonian is putting Latvala under serious pressure. He is 14.2 seconds ahead of team-mate Sébastien Ogier, who is enjoying a better road position on the second day of competition. 

Kris Meeke has dropped behind the four-time FIA World Rally Champion and is now trailing by 14.1 seconds in fifth overall. The Citroën driver has run without problems but is simply struggling to match the leading pace. Dani Sordo, Craig Breen, Elfyn Evans and Stéphane Lefebvre have all moved up a position this morning, benefitting when Hayden Paddon had power steering failure in the opening stage and haemorrhaged time from there on; he has now dropped from sixth to 10th.

In the FIA WRC 2 Championship, a string of fastest times sees Pontus Tidemand extend his lead to over a minute. Behind him, the battle between Teemu Suninen and Ole Christian Veiby continues; Veiby managed to climb back into second after the first stage but his Fiesta rival inched ahead again after the third stage. They go into the afternoon stages split by 5.5 seconds. Louise Cook continues her lonely drive as the only competitor in the WRC 3 Championship category.

The first stage this afternoon, a re-run of the new 31.60 kilometre Knon stage, has been cancelled for safety reasons following an analysis of the average speeds.

World Rally Championship

Rally SwedenWRCWRCSEASON 2017SportRallies1SportWorld Rally ChampionshipRalliesWRCSEASON 2017Rally SwedenWRC00Saturday, February 11, 2017 – 12:57pmSaturday, February 11, 2017 – 12:57pm http://ift.tt/1nrhiOR

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