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HomeWRC RacingVictorious Neuville Reignites WRC Title Quest In Italy

Victorious Neuville Reignites WRC Title Quest In Italy

Victorious Neuville Reignites WRC Title Quest In Italy

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Belgian climbs the standings as team-mate Lappi secures dream double podium for Hyundai.

Thierry Neuville vaulted from fifth to second within the FIA World Rally Championship standings on Sunday afternoon after clinching a long-awaited victory at Rally Italia Sardegna.

Belgian star Neuville headed i20 N companion Esapekka Lappi by 33.0sec in a dream 1-2 end for Hyundai at spherical six of 13, scoring his 18th profession success alongside co-driver Martijn Wydaeghe.

The end result served as a maiden 2023 triumph for each Neuville and his crew, serving to the Korean marque to maneuver inside 23 factors of championship-leading producer Toyota Gazoo Racing.

The lead modified fingers a whopping 9 occasions through the quick and livid Mediterranean island fixture till Neuville seized the initiative when GR Yaris rival Sébastien Ogier went off the highway in Saturday’s rain-hit penultimate take a look at.

He surpassed Lappi, who celebrated his third-consecutive top-three end, in the identical stage and managed a cushty benefit by Sunday’s four-stage finale.

“Clearly it was a difficult weekend,” mentioned Neuville, who now trails collection chief Kalle Rovanperä by 25 factors. “We got here right here with the assumption that we might combat for victory however the first day was difficult and we misplaced a little bit of time. Yesterday we discovered ourselves within the lead and we needed to handle it till the tip.

“It’s the primary victory for the crew this yr, it’s a 1-2, and the primary win for our crew principal [Cyril Abiteboul] as properly. Craig Breen is in our recollections additionally – we wished the win in Croatia for him, however we acquired it now.”

Rovanperä accomplished the rostrum in third general, his finest end result out of 5 Rally Italia Sardegna makes an attempt.

Though he trailed fellow Finn Lappi by 1min 22.3sec on the end, the excessive charge of attrition noticed him finish a sizeable 3min 25.2sec away from fourth-placed Toyota team-mate Elfyn Evans. Evans struggled to get right into a rhythm in his GR Yaris and dropped round three minutes on Saturday when the automobile’s radiator sustained injury in a water crossing.

Dani Sordo nearly made it three Hyundais within the prime 5 however retired after the day’s second stage because of exhaust failure. It introduced an early finish to what been a turbulent weekend for the Spaniard, having beforehand rolled his i20 N on Friday morning.

His demise paved the best way for Andreas Mikkelsen to assert fifth general in addition to taking a shock victory in WRC2. The Škoda Fabia driver had trailed Adrien Fourmaux by greater than half a minute earlier than the Wolf Energy Stage however the Frenchman slid off the highway 1.4km into the finale.

The WRC season enters its second half with a hotly anticipated go to to Africa later this month. The legendary Safari Rally Kenya is predicated in Naivasha and takes place from 22 – 25 June.

General classification:
1. T Neuville / M Wydaeghe BEL Hyundai i20 N 3h 40m 1.4s
2. E Lappi / J Ferm FIN Hyundai i20 N +33.0s
3. Okay Rovanperä / J Halttunen FIN Toyota GR Yaris +1m 55.3s
4. E Evans / S Martin GBR Toyota GR Yaris +5m 20.5s
5. A Mikkelsen / T Eriksen NOR Škoda Fabia RS Rally2 +9m 33.3s
6. T Suninen / M Markkula FIN Hyundai i20 N Rally2 +11m 48.9s

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