Hyundai drivers continued to prepare for Evans on two morning stages to bring a 20.6 second clear heading to the final service of the event.
“The performance was good, but the car gave me the confidence I needed,” Neuville said.
“In many rallies, we’ve always seen one car out a little ahead of the others. I think our package was strong this weekend.”
Hyundai’s Dani Sordo was the star of the morning loop, 1.6 seconds ahead of champion leader Sebastien Ogier, winning both stages and rising to third place overall.
Toyota’s Kalle Rovanperä remained in 5th place, ahead of M-Sport’s Gus Greensmith, Oliver Solberg (Hyundai) and WRC debut Nilsoran (Hyundai) in 6th place in 10.1 seconds.
The early morning start meant that the crew would tackle the opening stage of the day in the dark, adding an additional challenge in navigating the tricky 9.1km Santa Marina stage.
Sold made the most of his local knowledge to win the test in 0.7 seconds from rally leader Neuville, but the Spaniards were 1.7 seconds faster than Ogier and made Toyota jump to third overall in 0.5 seconds. rice field.
“I wasn’t really confident. I didn’t look very good, so I had a little trouble there,” Ogier said.
Neuville took more time from his closest rival, Evans, who could only set the third fastest time.
“I wasn’t sure if that was enough,” Neuville said. “There are a lot of cuts and I’m afraid to puncture. I ran clean and it will be better in the sunlight.”
Returning to a fully functional Ford Fiesta after encountering Barrier yesterday, Adrien Fourmaux set the fifth fastest time in Soldo with a shy of just 2.1 seconds.
Rovanperä was the slowest WRC runner with a 10.4 second drift, but the Finns were the first WRC car to enter the event and remained fifth overall.
“It was basically just a memo check,” Rovanpera said. “We don’t want to take risks because we have nothing to drive.”
Soldo’s strong start of the day continued with the victory of the second stage in the final test of the Mornin Group, the first pass of Riudecanez, who hosts the power stage later in the day.
By running the test smoothly, Sold was able to set the fastest time by 0.2 seconds behind rally leader Neuville, but more importantly, 1.2 seconds faster than Ogier in the overall third place battle. became.
“I lost a bit of time in the corner, but I did my best. It’s a lot of fun to do this and Cebu is a world champion so it’s good to fight him,” said Sold.
After seeing the gap to third place for 1.6 seconds, Ogier added, “I can’t do any more. I slipped a bit near the end. The car isn’t bad and it’s not over.”
Evans continued to struggle to find Yaris’ pace, dropping another 3.5 seconds to Neuville in the fight for victory. Toyota drivers reported that they had “substantially replaced” cars in service before the last two stages.
Teammate Rovanperä was fortunate not to have a right rear puncture after clipping the curb towards the end of the stage and damaging the wheel.
The crew concludes the rally by competing for a second pass on the stage late Sunday morning.
Neuville approaches victory after Ogier loses third place
https://www.motorsport.com/wrc/news/spain-neuville-close-to-victory-ogier-loses-third/6687730/?utm_source=RSS&utm_medium=referral&utm_campaign=RSS-ALL&utm_term=News&utm_content=www Neuville approaches victory after Ogier loses third place