With three stages to go and 63 kilometers to go against the clock, Thierry Neuville is in third place in the Swedish Rally. The East Cantonner turned out to be the fastest of the whole pack four times on Saturday.
Before the Saturday rides, the previously somewhat ill Neuville appeared to feel a lot better. His Hyundai i20 WRC also had less trouble with the snowy roads than in the opening phase of the second round of the world championship. This resulted in four of the seven fastest times for Neuville. Due to mistakes by Hyundai teammate Lappi and Toyota driver Evans, Neuville already managed to gain two places, but the gap with reigning world champion Kalle Rovanperä closed completely on his own. In the end, he finished the Saturday stage 3.8 seconds ahead of the young Finn.
“I’m glad this day is over”, a satisfied Neuville grinned at the end of the day. “Today we attacked just as hard as on Friday, but now that also translated into good times. In some tests I was very close to the limit, yes. And the battle with Kalle is not over yet. Three more tests to go, and I don’t think anyone will play it safe.”
At the front, Ott Tänak (Ford) managed to move into first place again. Just like close attacker Craig Breen (Hyundai), the Estonian had to deal with tire problems, but was still able to bend with a bonus of 8.6 seconds at the end of the day. Thierry Neuville follows third at just under 24 counts.
In the Junior WRC, Grégoire Munster set some fastest times, but a trip into a snow wall saw the young man from Verviers drop from third to fourth in the standings. Tom Rensonnet is seventh in the JWRC.