Thierry Neuville set a scorching pace to win Rally Italy for Hyundai.
The Belgian ace endured a torrid time for much of 2015 and thus far this season, but bounced back with a measured performance that netted him the lead by the afternoon of Leg 1.
Leg 2 was spent holding off the advances of Jari-Matti Latvala, who held the lead early on Leg 1 despite handling issues on his VW Polo. A new gearbox cured the problem and allowed the Finn to close to within touching distance of Neuville by the end of the day.
Neuville got the hammer down in response on Leg 3, pulling the gap out to nearly 25 seconds by the close of play. The win makes him the fifth different winner in as many events; it’s also the second of his WRC career and Hyundai’s second of the year.
Running first on the road – much to his chagrin – Sebastien Ogier achieved his aim of a podium finish, extending his championship lead in the process.
Finishing fourth for the fourth time in a row promoted Dani Sordo up to second in the championship, albeit by a single point from Andreas Mikkelsen who failed to score.
Incidentally, Hyundai was handed a €50,000 fine after post-event scrutineering as it was found that the i20 WRC was using non-homologated windows.
Ford pilots Ott Tanak and Eric Camilli were fifth and sixth, the latter taking his first stage win on the last day. Fan favourite Henning Solberg was seventh ahead of WRC2 runners Teemu Sunninen, Jan Kopecky and Karl Kruuda.
Rally Poland is next on the tour, on 1-3 July.
Rally Italy top ten finishers after 19 stages
- Thierry Neuville/Nicolas Gilsoul — Hyundai Motorsport N/Hyundai i20 WRC — 3:35:25.8
- Jari-Matti Latvala/Miikka Anttila — Volkswagen Motorsport/VW Polo R WRC — +24.8
- Sebastien Ogier/Julien Ingrassia — Volkswagen Motorsport/VW Polo R WRC — +1:37.8
- Dani Sordo/Marc Marti — Hyundai Motorsport/Hyundai i20 WRC — +2:54.0
- Ott Tanak/Raigo Molder — DMACK World Rally Team/Ford Fiesta RS WRC — +5:26.4
- Eric Camilli/Benjamin Veillas — M-Sport World Rally Team/Ford Fiesta RS WRC — +5:59.8
- Henning Solberg/Ilka Minor — Adapta Motorsport/Ford Fiesta RS WRC — +6:22.2
- Teemu Sunninen/Mikko Markkula — Team Oreca/Skoda Fabia R5 — +8:57.4
- Jan Kopecky/Pavel Dresler — Skoda Motorsport/Skoda Fabia R5 — +9:47.0
- Karl Kruuda/Martin Jarveoja — Drive DMACK Trophy Team/Ford Fiesta R5 — +13:28.5
For more information click here
By Only Motors