Neuville tops Sweden warm-up
Thierry Neuville was a convincing winner of shakedown at Rally Sweden on Thursday (14 February) morning.
The Hyundai i20 driver was fastest through the Skalla speed test by 2.2sec from Ott Tänak’s Toyota Yaris. Sébastien Ogier, winner of last month’s opening WRC round in Monte-Carlo, was a further tenth behind in a Citroën C3.
Neuville showed a clean pair of heels to his rivals through the 6.86km snow and ice-covered roads close to the Torsby service park. The five drivers behind him were blanketed by just 0.6sec.
“I had a good feeling in the car in the end. I struggled a bit in the first pass and adapted the set-up for the second run and everything then felt quite comfortable. The road conditions changed a lot and became faster and faster, as always here in Sweden,” explained Neuville.
Jari-Matti Latvala set the pace after the opening run in his Yaris before Teemu Suninen rocketed to the top of the standings in a Ford Fiesta following the second pass.
Neuville moved clear in his third and final run and although several drivers went on to complete a fourth pass, nobody came near to toppling him.
Kris Meeke (below) was fourth, edging Ogier by 0.2sec in his final pass. In the previous run the Briton was helped back onto the road by spectators after burying his Yaris in a snowbank at a tricky right bend, following a jump, 500 metres from the finish.
M-Sport Ford team-mates Elfyn Evans and Suninen completed the top six, the Fiesta duo separated by just a tenth.
The leading times were:
|1.||Thierry Neuville||Hyundai i20||4m05.0s|
|2.||Ott Tänak||Toyota Yaris||4m07.2s|
|3.||Sébastien Ogier||Citroën C3||4m07.3s|
|4.||Kris Meeke||Toyota Yaris||4m07.5s|
|5.||Elfyn Evans||Ford Fiesta||4m07.7s|
|6.||Teemu Suninen||Ford Fiesta||4m07.8s|
|7.||Esapekka Lappi||Toyota Yaris||4m08.4s|
|8.||Sébastien Loeb||Hyundai i20||4m08.8s|
|9.||Jari-Matti Latvala||Toyota Yaris||4m09.2s|
|10.||Andreas Mikkelsen||Hyundai i20||4m10.0s|
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