Thierry Neuville and Martijn Wydaeghe lead Rally Croatia following the predominant four levels after they made a cease to-supreme start to round three of the 2021 FIA World Rally Championship this morning.
Powered by a Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC, the Belgians were fastest on levels one, two and 4 to advance abet to Zagreb Nice searching for the noon provider with an just accurate thing about 7.3 seconds over Elfyn Evans/Scott Martin, final one year’s world championship runners-up, in a Toyota Yaris WRC.
Defending World Champions Sébastien Ogier/Julien Ingrassia are third, 5.0s within the abet of their team-mates Evans/Martin with Hyundai crews Ott Tänak/Martin Järveoja and Craig Breen/Paul Nagle fourth and fifth respectively.
In rising ambient temperatures beneath clear blue skies, the gorgeous Croatian panorama equipped a spectacular backdrop because the country’s first WRC tournament began in earnest following Thursday’s shakedown and Ceremonial Originate. And there became drama within a handful of kilometeres of the gap stage when sides leaders Kalle Rovanperä/Jonne Halttunen crashed down a bank. The Finns were uninjured, however their Toyota Yaris WRC suffered intensive ruin, even if it is hoped it might possibly also simply even be repaired for Saturday’s second leg.
Ogier/Ingrassia accomplished the 6.94-kilometre Crude – Plešivica stage down in fifth safe 22 situation and with the left-rear tyre off the rim following a cease call on the identical accurate-hander the set apart Rovanperä/Halttunen hit anxiousness.
After going fastest on SS1 by 2.1s, Neuville/Wydaeghe were quickest as soon as more on SS2, this time by a margin of 4.9s. Toyota team-mates Ogier/Ingrassia and Evans/Martin safe 22 situation the identical fastest time on SS3 sooner than Neuville/Wydaeghe restored design quo with the quickest bustle by strategy of SS4.
The halt three all chosen a mixture of Pirelli’s soft and laborious-compound tyres for the morning loop, whereas Ott Tänak/Martin Järveoja opted for laborious compound tyres handiest with accurate one spare on board their Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC. The Estonians are fourth general, 17.8s off the lead.
Co-driven by Renaud Jamoul, Adrien Fourmaux is taking rotund just accurate thing about his first day out on a WRC tournament in a World Rally Car. The Frenchman is sixth general for the M-Sport Ford World Rally Team followed by team-mates Gus Greensmith/Chris Patterson.
Pierre-Louis Loubet/Vincent Landais are in eighth safe 22 situation with Takamoto Katsuta/Daniel Barrritt slipping to ninth after the slid extensive on a accurate-hand flip on SS4 and nudged a bank. The Eastern Toyota driver total the stage with the left-rear tyre off the rim.
Defending champions Mads Østberg/Torstein Eriksen (Citroën C3 Rally2) took the lead of WRC2 on SS3 after erstwhile pacesetters Nikolay Gryazin/Konstanin Aleksandrov (Volkswagen Polo GTI R5) were delayed after a heavy touchdown knocked the front-left tyre off the rim.
Gryazin/Aleksandrov lost extra time as soon as they cease to went off accurate into a ditch nearing the halt off SS4. But they regained second at school when Teemu Suninen/Mikko Markkula slid off the twin carriageway on the identical nook and lost higher than 30s of their Ford Fiesta Rally2.
Andreas Mikkelsen/Ola Fløene, who were third in WRC2 after the gap stage, stopped on SS2 with a damaged accurate-rear suspension arm on their Škoda Fabia Rally2 Evo. Yohan Rossel (Citroën C3 Rally2) leads WRC3 by 9.5s over Kajetan Kajetanowicz. Martin Koči heads the Junior WRC utter in a Ford Fiesta Rally4.
This afternoon’s loop begins with a repeat of the 6.94-kilometre Crude – Plešivica stage from 15: 01 local time with crews due to advance abet to the Zagreb Nice looking provider park for the halt-of-day provider at 18: 20.
Picture credit: Uros Modlic & Marijan Radovic / Rally Croatia