The Hyundai driver Thierry Neuville completed the first battle day of the Rally Sweden at a leading position with the advantage of 4.9 seconds over teammate Andreas Mikkelsen.
For all seven special stages on Friday Belgian and Norwegian exchanged blows, reacting to each other’s precious time. On the first afternoon stage Mikkelsen reduced the gap to second, but two of zavershaya SU Neville took the situation under control, both times being ahead, and looking up to almost five seconds.
“I went all out, and the car worked perfectly,” commented Thierry his speech.
On the third place after finishing eighth and final stage rose the third Hyundai driver Hayden Paddon. The kiwi not too confident began to Rally Sweden and the morning section on Friday finished only eighth, but after lunch was able to find the necessary rhythm. Two victories and one third place he had to win back five seats in the General classification and be in the top three, even in spite of the error, and only the seventh time CY7. On Saturday, Paddon may even try to impose the struggle to Neuville and Mikkelsen who plays 12.1 and 7.2 seconds respectively. But do not forget the rivals, because his lead over Craig Breen is exactly one-half second and Mads Ostberg – 1.1 seconds.
In General, the first five consisting of the drivers of the Hyundai and Citroen, share only 13.2 seconds, while reaching the sixth best rider M-Sport, Teemu Suninen even Ostberg is losing 16.4 seconds.
Very strange happened day for world championship leader Sebastien Ogier. The Frenchman didn’t make any major mistakes, but managed to lose 2 minutes and 48 seconds Neville and failed to rise above 12th position, having missed the final special stage partner Alfina Evans. Blame uncomfortable the first position in the start list, where the reigning world champion had the whole day to clean the snow route.
“Rough day, commented Ogier, second 7.5 seconds Evans and more minutes, Kris Meeke, closing the top 10. – I tried, but couldn’t go any faster. In the course of the day section, we average lost 1.5 seconds every kilometer. I don’t think it’s my real pace – something is wrong. I was so far away that it is pointless to talk about any purposes.”
On Saturday participants of the Rally Sweden are waiting for eight special stages with a total length of 120 km.
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