Australia WRC: Neuville pulls clear on shortened afternoon loop

Thierry Neuville will take a 19-second Rally Australia lead into Saturday evening's Super Special Stages in Coffs Harbour, after the final forest stage of the afternoon was cancelled.

Australia WRC: Neuville pulls clear on shortened afternoon loop
Thierry Neuville, Nicolas Gilsoul, Hyundai i20 WRC, Hyundai Motorsport
Thierry Neuville, Nicolas Gilsoul, Hyundai i20 WRC, Hyundai Motorsport
Thierry Neuville, Nicolas Gilsoul, Hyundai i20 WRC, Hyundai Motorsport
Jari-Matti Latvala, Miikka Anttila, Toyota Yaris WRC, Toyota Racing
Ott Tänak, Martin Järveoja, Ford Fiesta WRC, M-Sport
Ott Tänak, Martin Järveoja, Ford Fiesta WRC, M-Sport
Craig Breen, Scott Martin, Citroën C3 WRC, Citroën World Rally Team
Hayden Paddon, Sebastian Marshall, Hyundai i20 WRC, Hyundai Motorsport

Crews were set for a second pass over the 20-kilometre Newry stage to finish the afternoon loop, but it was cancelled before it even got underway due to a damaged bridge.

It's believed that a state championship competitor hit the bridge during this morning's first pass on the stage.

The cancellation meant that the 19-second lead that Neuville built over Jari-Matti Latvala during the first two stages of the loop is what he'll take into the two passes of the harbour front Super Special Stage this evening.

Having inherited the lead from Friday pacesetter Andreas Mikkelsen during the Saturday morning loop, Neuville went into the afternoon leg with a narrow 6.3s margin over Latvala.

It wasn't a narrow margin for long, though. The Belgian made a flying start on SS12, surviving slippery conditions late in the stage to beat Latvala by a whopping 9.9s to extend the overall lead to over 16s.

He then pulled another 2.8s on Latvala when he topped the Argents Hill stage, putting him in a commanding position with just one more day of forest stages to come.

Ott Tanak took over third spot from Kris Meeke on the opening stage of the loop after Meeke hit a narrow bridge and damaged the right rear suspension on his Citroen.

The crash cost Meeke 9.9s to Tanak on the stage, and having then attempted to make running repairs before the Argents Hill stage he opted to retire the car and return to the service park.

That leaves Tanak sitting pretty in third spot, 21s behind Latvala in second and 25s clear of Craig Breen in fourth.

Breen and Hayden Paddon both made up spots thanks to Mikkelsen and Meeke's misfortune, and now sit fourth and fifth respectively, while Sebastian Ogier is now up to sixth.

The newly-crowned World Champion failed to trouble the frontrunners in terms of outright pace again today, and finished the second loop with damage to the front of his M-Sport Ford after tagging a bank during the Welshs Creek stage.

Stephane Lefebvre is a distant eighth in the wake of his run-in with local police.

shares
comments
Lefebvre fined for overtaking unmarked police car
Previous article

Lefebvre fined for overtaking unmarked police car

Next article

Scary Rally Australia crash leaves car underwater

Scary Rally Australia crash leaves car underwater
Load comments
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
Ranking lost WRC legend Richard Burns' 10 best rallies Prime

Ranking lost WRC legend Richard Burns' 10 best rallies

Richard Burns was a determined driver who took on the best rally drivers in the world during a boom period in the early 2000s, and beat them. On the 20th anniversary of his crowning glory in winning the 2001 WRC title, and 16 years on from his death on the same date, we pick out his 10 greatest drives

WRC
Nov 25, 2021
The internal focus that made Burns a legendary world rally champion Prime

The internal focus that made Burns a legendary world rally champion

At the turn of the millennium, WRC was full to the brim with rallying's great and good - and 20 years ago on this day, Richard Burns became England's first world rally champion. Although Burns' natural talent drove him to the top, his steely determination and mental strength was the key attribute behind his title-winning form

WRC
Nov 25, 2021
How Ogier emerged from Loeb's shadow to form his own WRC legend Prime

How Ogier emerged from Loeb's shadow to form his own WRC legend

OPINION: Adding an eighth WRC title to his name, Sebastien Ogier has bowed out from full-time rallying in style. Having been compared throughout his career with nine-time champion Sebastien Loeb, Ogier has convincingly demonstrated that he can stand on his own as one of the greatest rally drivers in history

WRC
Nov 22, 2021
How confronting self-doubt drove Ogier to become a WRC legend Prime

How confronting self-doubt drove Ogier to become a WRC legend

This weekend's Rally Monza marks the end of an era in the World Rally Championship, as Sebastien Ogier prepares to bring down the curtain on his full-time career with an eighth title. For all his enduring success, the Toyota driver reveals in an exclusive interview that lingering insecurities have compelled his quest for perfection

WRC
Nov 18, 2021
The third generation McRae on his way to the WRC Prime

The third generation McRae on his way to the WRC

The McRae family name is steeped in rallying history, with eight British titles between Jimmy, Colin and Alister - plus the small matter of the 1995 WRC title too. Next on the conveyor of talent is Alister's 17-year-old Max McRae, who’s setting out in Australia to conquer the world of rallying and return the famous name to the WRC...

WRC
Nov 12, 2021
Inside Hyundai’s radical approach to prepare for the WRC hybrid era Prime

Inside Hyundai’s radical approach to prepare for the WRC hybrid era

As the World Rally Championship undergoes its biggest shift in regulations for a generation, teams are taking radical measures to prepare for its new era. Hyundai's unique approach involved conducting a private 1500km rally in Italy and Motorsport.com went to see how the team is preparing for 2022

WRC
Nov 4, 2021
How Neuville stole the show from Ogier vs Evans slugfest in Spain Prime

How Neuville stole the show from Ogier vs Evans slugfest in Spain

While all pre-event chat focused on the two World Rally Championship title fighters, their closest challenger charged into the spotlight on Rally Spain. Thierry Neuville's star turn and another strong drive from Elfyn Evans in his fight with Sebastien Ogier made for an intriguing event as the 2021 campaign nears its crunch point

WRC
Oct 18, 2021