Thierry Neuville won the Rally Corsica after the drama of Elfin EvansApril 1, 2019
Hyundai racer Thierry Neuville won the tenth anniversary career victory and the first in the 2019 season, winning a dramatic and unpredictable stage of the World Rally Championship in Corsica.
The Belgian started the third day of the asphalt rally as a leader, but on the first of two special stages on Sunday, he lost his main rival Elfin Evans 17 seconds and lost the first place. On the 14th and final special stage Neuville came out with a lag of 11.5 seconds and drove not in the best way, becoming only the fourth. After him, the only thing left to overcome was Evans. By the time of two of the four splits, the M-Sport racer lost 11.7 seconds to his opponent, which already meant a loss of victory. And the Welshman came to the finish line with a lag of 1 minute and 18 seconds. The reason for such a catastrophic loss of time was the puncture of the right front wheel in the middle of the special stage. Evans reached the finish line, but lost two positions, passing forward Nyovil and Ogier.
“It’s a shame for Evans. He was very good at this rally, ”commented Neuville on his opponent’s failure and his triumph, which was the first since last year’s stage in Sardinia. – But we also deserved to win. I constantly attacked and proved that you can never give up. ”
The current world champion Sebastien Ogier managed to minimize losses after a difficult stage for himself, for most of which he could not find the right settings for his Citroen C3 car. But the impeccable aerobatics on the part of the Frenchman himself and his opponents’ problems ahead let him climb to second place.
“Difficult stage. My main goal was to get to the finish line, – said Ogier, who became the fifth after the bonus special stage. “I knew that we didn’t have much chance of extra points, so I didn’t risk it.”
Evans finished third for the second time in a row after the Rally, but it is clear that after fighting for the victory up to the last special stage, he was unhappy with this result.
“It’s hard to come to terms, but it happens, this is a rally,” M-Sport pilot shared his feelings. – On a straight stretch of road, I hit a stone and immediately realized that I had punched a wheel. I tried to minimize the loss of time, but about six kilometers before the finish, the tire began to fall apart. At least I stayed on the podium. But, of course, this is not the result that I expected. ”
Top 5 at the finish of the Rally Corsica closed Dani Sordo and Teemu Suninen, teammates of Neuville and Evans.
Arriving in Corsica, the leader of the championship, Ott Tyanak, after the puncture of the wheel, was only sixth on the penultimate Saturday’s special. Following the Estonian, rally was completed by Esapekka Lappi and nine-time world rally champion Sebastien Loeb, who after the breakdown of the suspension arm on the SS1, the whole stage was at the end of the top ten, from which it could not get out. The last in the test area were Tyanak’s Toyota companions Chris Mick and Jari-Matti Latvala, who lost time on Friday due to a suspension failure and a slow puncture, respectively.
On the first line of the championship went Neuville, on which account now 82 points. Ogier scored just two points from the Belgian, while Tyanak is now only third with 77 points.
The next stage of the World Rally Championship will be held from April 25 to April 28 in Argentina.
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