Courtesy of WRC Media Service
Late puncture denies Evans as Belgian takes the overall championship lead.
was en route to the podium ceremony in Calvi believing he had finished
second when he discovered leader Evans had punctured a tyre in the final
Evans dropped 90sec limping to the finish,
handing Neuville a victory in his Hyundai i20 that moved the Belgian
into a two-point lead in the FIA World Rally Championship.
carried a 4.5sec lead into today’s final leg on Corsica’s east coast.
His hopes were dented when Evans destroyed him in the opening test,
regaining 16.0sec to move into a seemingly comfortable 11.5sec advantage
ahead of the final Wolf Power Stage.
“I tried to contact the
team to get information, but we were unsure if we had won or not,” said
Neuville. “Arriving at the podium I saw my mechanics and only then I
understood we had.
“I’m really disappointed for Elfyn, who did a really good job, but we deserved it as well. It was a great battle.”
put on a brave face after finishing third in his Ford Fiesta. Three
times he fought back to regain the lead during a topsy-turvy weekend on
the asphalt, but there was no opportunity to do so for a fourth time.
difficult to accept but it’s the nature of the sport,” said Evans. “I
think it happened on a straight piece of road, a hole or piece of stone
that had lifted. I felt it straightaway but tried to drive on it to see
if we could minimise the time loss.”
was relieved to claim second, 40.3sec behind Neuville, after a torrid
rally in his Citroen C3. Handling problems slowed the Frenchman and
despite many set-up changes, he never found the pace he expected. He was
26.3sec ahead of Evans.
Dani Sordo took fourth in another i20, despite final day brake problems. The Spaniard fended off Teemu Suninen’s Fiesta by 6.2sec.
Tänak completed the top six in a Toyota Yaris, the Estonian unable to
recover from yesterday afternoon’s puncture which cost the lead and a
potential second victory of the season.
Round five takes
competitors to south America for the first of two fixtures there in
three weeks. The gravel-road Xion Rally Argentina is based in Villa
Carlos Paz on 25 – 28 April.
1. T Neuville / N Gilsoul BEL Hyundai i20 3hr 22min 59.0sec
2. S Ogier / J Ingrassia FRA Citroën C3 +40.3sec
3. E Evans / S Martin GBR Ford Fiesta +1min 06.6sec
4. D Sordo / C del Barrio ESP Hyundai i20 +1min 18.4sec
5. T Suninen / M Salminen FIN Ford Fiesta +1min 24.6sec
6. O Tänak / M Järveoja EST Toyota Yaris +1min 40.0sec
FIA World Rally Championship (after round 4 of 14)
1. T Neuville 82pts
2. S Ogier 80pts
3. O Tänak 77pts
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