Neuville on cusp of Corsica win as Hyundai goes 1-2

Kris Meeke during the Shakedown of the WRC France
Kris Meeke during the Shakedown of the WRC France
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10 April, 2017

Four-time world champion Ogier was fastest in SS3 in his M-Sport Ford to cut Meeke's advantage to just over eight seconds, however he responded on the final stage to extend his advantage over 10 seconds. "Special thanks to the team, they have always believed in me and kept pushing me after Monte-Carlo and Sweden".

"The feeling is awesome", Neuville said.

Sunday's ninth and penultimate stage — a long 54-kilometer (33-mile) trek from Antisanti to Poggio di Nazza — gave Ogier an opportunity to close the gap on Neuville.

Should Neuville win in Corsica, he will be the fourth different driver to win in as many races this season, suggesting an unpredictable campaign. "I'm fighting like I can win it".

Spaniard Dani Sordo lost out on second place by 1.3 seconds in the closing Power Stage but made it a podium double for Hyundai by finishing third.

Having dropped 40secs behind Neuville as he ailed with problems yesterday, ongoing electrical problems for Ogier would set him back even further in SS9, so much so that Sordo is now second with a three seconds buffer coming into the final tour. With the demise of rally leader Kris Meeke, the Kiwis moved up one spot on the leader-board to finish the day in sixth overall, but were essentially in no man's land with a 41 second deficit to Craig Breen in fifth place.

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Sordo who finished the rally on third in his i20 had 13.6sec in hand over Jari-Matti Latvala of Toyota.

Ogier now has 88 points to Latvala's 75 with Neuville moving up to third on 54.

Ogier has won the past four world titles and is looking to become only the second driver to win five.

Ogier left Volkswagen to drive the Ford Fiesta for M-Sport this season and - even though he won the season-opening Monte Carlo Rally - he is still getting accustomed to the auto. Countryman Sebastien Loeb holds the record with nine, all won consecutively.

"There were some sections where I was not compatible with the vehicle and couldn't push", the Frenchman said.


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