Poland WRC: Neuville catches Tanak to set up Sunday decider

Thierry Neuville moved back into a narrow Rally Poland lead on Saturday evening after the latest twists in the close-fought World Rally Championship battle.

Poland WRC: Neuville catches Tanak to set up Sunday decider
Thierry Neuville, Nicolas Gilsoul, Hyundai i20 WRC, Hyundai Motorsport
Thierry Neuville, Nicolas Gilsoul, Hyundai i20 WRC, Hyundai Motorsport
Thierry Neuville, Nicolas Gilsoul, Hyundai Motorsport, Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC
Hayden Paddon, Sebastian Marshall, Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC, Hyundai Motorsport
Sébastien Ogier, Julien Ingrassia, Ford Fiesta WRC, M-Sport
Teemu Suninen, Mikko Markkula, Ford Fiesta WRC, M-Sport

Neuville had fallen from first to second on the Pozezdrze stage when he picked up a rear puncture on his Hyundai.

But while that put Ott Tanak's M-Sport Ford into a 14.4-second lead, Tanak arrived at the stage finish minus his car's rear wing - which he said had detached itself without warning on a straight.

Given the 2017 cars' reliance on aerodynamics, the rest of the day was always going to be a huge challenge for Tanak and Neuville was back in front within two stages.

He goes into Sunday's deciding four-stage leg with a 3.1s lead over Tanak.

The dramas of Pozezdrze brought Neuville's teammate Paddon - with whom he shared the afternoon's stage wins - into contention at the front.

Paddon gained third when Jari-Matti Latvala's Toyota ground to a halt on Pozezdrze just before Tanak and Neuville's troubles, and starts day three 22.4s behind Tanak - but insists his priority is not to risk his podium.

Sebastien Ogier had to cope with several niggling problems on his M-Sport Ford through the afternoon and is a distant fourth, though now pulling away from Dani Sordo after some small errors by the Hyundai driver.

M-Sport's extra driver Teemu Suninen remains on course for sixth on his World Rally Car debut, ahead of Citroen's pacesetter Stephane Lefebvre and privateer Mads Ostberg.

Toyota now has no cars in the top 10. Along with Esapekka Lappi's Friday damage and Latvala's problem, Juho Hanninen was hampered by a lack of power through Saturday afternoon and fell to 11th behind the battling Elfyn Evans and Andreas Mikkelsen.

The gap between Evans and Mikkelsen had ebbed and flowed all day, with Evans finishing it 11.5s ahead, having won the Mikolajki Arena superspecial for the third time in as many evenings.

Craig Breen was much happier with his car and the conditions on leg two and has worked his way back up to 13th overall, albeit seven minutes outside the points.

 

shares
comments
Poland WRC: Neuville and Tanak locked in thrilling lead battle
Previous article

Poland WRC: Neuville and Tanak locked in thrilling lead battle

Next article

Poland WRC: Tanak mistake gives Neuville big lead

Poland WRC: Tanak mistake gives Neuville big lead
Load comments
Why Loeb v Ogier duel gave the WRC's new hybrid era the ideal start Prime

Why Loeb v Ogier duel gave the WRC's new hybrid era the ideal start

OPINION: Any lingering concerns about the new-for-2022 Rally1 hybrid cars were dispelled by a blockbuster opening round to the World Rally Championship in Monte Carlo. The duel between Sebastien Loeb and Sebastien Ogier created a perfect feel-good story that will carry the series forward into its new era.

WRC
Jan 27, 2022
How Monte masters stole the show as WRC's hybrid era blasted off Prime

How Monte masters stole the show as WRC's hybrid era blasted off

The new Rally1 hybrid cars made their competition debuts in Monte Carlo, but it was two semi-retired drivers who took centre stage in a thrilling battle between two of the World Rally Championship's most successful names. Here's how Sebastien Loeb completed a remarkable return on his M-Sport debut by beating reigning champion Sebastien Ogier

WRC
Jan 24, 2022
The WRC heirs scrapping to assume Ogier's throne in 2022 Prime

The WRC heirs scrapping to assume Ogier's throne in 2022

Eight-time World Rally Championship king Sebastien Ogier has abdicated (well, gone part-time) in 2022, meaning for just the second time in the past decade we will have a different champion this year. We pick out the drivers gunning to take his place and take over the mantle as the WRC's new ruler

WRC
Jan 20, 2022
The WRC star that's earned the right to lead M-Sport's revival Prime

The WRC star that's earned the right to lead M-Sport's revival

Part-time opportunities with Citroen and Hyundai have offered brief glimpses of what Craig Breen can do in a World Rally Championship car. Now signed up by M-Sport to lead it into the WRC's new hybrid era, Breen has been given the chance he's pursued for so long and is determined to make the most of it

WRC
Jan 18, 2022
Why the WRC's 'modern Group B' era was rallying at its bonkers best Prime

Why the WRC's 'modern Group B' era was rallying at its bonkers best

The World Rally Championship has brought down the curtain on the aggressive, aero-laden generation of cars first introduced in 2017 that have been likened to the 1980s Group B icons. As the championship prepares to begin a new era of Rally1 hybrid cars, its stars explain just why the outgoing machines were so special

WRC
Dec 24, 2021
Ranking the top 10 WRC drivers of 2021 Prime

Ranking the top 10 WRC drivers of 2021

On the eve of a new hybrid era for the World Rally Championship, the 2021 season was a blockbuster fought out between Toyota's two top dogs, with a familiar figure eventually emerging on top after a final showdown at Monza. We pick out the 10 best performers from the top class and its supporting cast

WRC
Dec 21, 2021
Why Ogier's WRC swansong was a season to savour Prime

Why Ogier's WRC swansong was a season to savour

He’s shuffling into semi-rally-retirement, but Toyota star Sebastien Ogier was at the peak of his powers in the final season for the high downforce era-World Rally Championship cars. Despite Toyota's domination, there was still much to enjoy as the old master emerged atop a fierce title fight against teammate Elfyn Evans.

WRC
Dec 19, 2021
How WRC legend Ogier will be remembered by his peers Prime

How WRC legend Ogier will be remembered by his peers

After winning his eighth WRC title, Sebastien Ogier has drawn the curtain on his full-time rallying career. To understand Ogier's legacy, many of his former rivals, team-mates and colleagues have shared their thoughts on a vastly successful career

WRC
Nov 26, 2021