Rally Sweden Day 2: Latvala leads amid Neuville’s Nightmare

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Thierry Neuville’s stricken Hyundai i20 on the final stage of day 2.
Image: ewrc-results.com

It was business as usual for Hyundai’s Thierry Neuville until the Super Special Stage in Karlstad centre where on the tiny 1.9km sprint, the Belgian’s Hyundai i20 lost its wheel.

Neuville had a commanding lead of 43.3 seconds over Toyota’s Jari-Matti Latvala as of stage 14. His luck, like in Monte Carlo three weeks previous, has once again run out in a big way on the smallest stage in the rally. As a result, Neuville and co-driver Nicolas Gilsoul had to take a mandatory 10 minute penalty or face absolute retirement.

The lost wheel for Neuville bodes well for Jari-Matti Latvala who inherits his lead while the Hyundai driver drops all the way down to 13th. Latvala however has his work cut out for him in holding the lead until the end. Day 3 contains just three stages but Latvala’s lead over second place Ott Tanak is just 3.8 seconds. Sébastien Ogier is a further 12.8 seconds behind M-Sport team mate Tanak. Dani Sordo is now Hyundai’s highest placed driver in fourth, over a minute behind the top three.

Craig Breen is the best of the Citroen runners in fifth, followed by Hayden Paddon, Elfyn Evans and Citroen team mate Stephane Lefebvre driving last year’s DS3. WRC-2 leader Pontus Tidemand is running well in his home rally and currently sits ninth overall with Teemu Suninen tenth and second in class.

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