In a tit-for-tat battle, Toyota’s Jari-Matti Latvala and co-driver Miikka Anttila lead halfway through day 1 of Rally Sweden, despite Hyundai’s Thierry Neuville’s best efforts.
The Finnish driver took his first ever WRC victory in Sweden back in 2008 and has shown his snow-driving skills by winning the short opening ‘Super Special Stage’ in the rally’s HQ in the town of Karlstad.
It was Thierry Neuville and co-driver Nicolas Gilsoul who took the first proper stage win this morning and subsequently took the overall lead and took the win during stage 3. Neuville lost some time during stage 4 and Latvala pounced to re-take the lead he held briefly over Thursday night. The gap is just under four seconds to Neuville with Citroen’s Kris Meeke running third and hoping to score his first championship points after a torrid Monte Carlo Rally.
Sébastien Ogier has struggled so far but regained his composure in stage 4 setting the third fastest time and sits 19 seconds behind in fourth overall.
In WRC-2, Swedish native Pontus Tidemand is leading the pack in his Skoda Fabia R5 with Printsport’s Ole Christian Veiby following closely behind in second place in his Skoda. Only five seconds separate the Skoda pilots with M-Sport’s Teemu Suninen some 26 seconds off the pace of Tidemand.
The second half of Rally Sweden Day 1 is currently underway with Toyota’s Juho Hanninen becoming the first major victim of the rally.