2021 WRC - Ypres Rally Belgium - T. Neuville / M. Wydaeghe (DPPI / Gregory Lenormand)

Thierry Neuville outgunned Hyundai Motorsport team-mate Craig Breen on Friday evening to shut a racy opening leg of Ypres Rally Belgium within the lead of his dwelling match.

The pair would possibly per chance barely be separated all over this afternoon’s opening loop of four tempo checks by narrow asphalt farm lanes, which Neuville ended 0.4sec to the real in his i20 World Rally Car.

Quickest times on all three evening special stages – the final check was as soon as cancelled for safety causes – delivered the Belgian a 7.6sec lead with two days final of this eighth spherical of the FIA World Rally Championship. Ott Tänak executed a Hyundai podium lockout in third.

Neuville’s handiest area was as soon as a peculiar one. His trademark spectacles slipped down his face within the afternoon’s motion, disrupting his concentration but clearly no longer slowing his tempo.

Tänak led after the gap check but an overshoot within the next allowed his two colleagues to ruin obvious.

Breen led for two stages sooner than Neuville edged obvious and the Irishman couldn’t match his team-mate’s tempo within the repeat loop.

Tänak headed a thrilling four-vehicle fight for third with the quartet blanketed by 8.2sec. The Estonian’s vehicle was as soon as down on energy this evening but he had sufficient tempo to repel Kalle Rovanperä, who headed a four-vehicle Toyota Yaris put collectively in fourth.

Rovanperä was as soon as 1.4sec adrift and honest eight-tenths obvious of Elfyn Evans, who he demoted within the final stage. Evans was as soon as aggravated, satisfied with the feeling he had within the aid of the wheel but dismayed at his times.

Championship chief Sébastien Ogier executed the extinguish six. He lost fine seconds with a front left puncture this afternoon and was as soon as sorrowful along with his vehicle’s area-up. Changes at the mid-leg provider left the Frenchman in a happier frame of thoughts after the evening motion.

Takamoto Katsuta was as soon as seventh after an encouraging day alongside debutant co-driver Keaton Williams, deputising for the injured Dan Barritt. He was as soon as very without problems obvious of Pierre-Louis Loubet, who overshot the identical junction as Tänak in his i20.

FIA WRC3 chief Yohan Rossel, riding a Citroën C3 Rally2, and FIA WRC2 frontrunner Oliver Solberg, debuting Hyundai’s sleek i20 N Rally2, executed the leaderboard.

It was as soon as a disastrous opening for M-Sport Ford. Adrien Fourmaux retired in SS3 after clipping a bank and launching his Fiesta into a giant airborne skedaddle, while Gus Greensmith exited honest 200 metres after the starting up of the next stage when he dropped his vehicle into a ditch.

In the FIA Junior WRC Championship, Huge Britain’s Jon Armstrong abet a 50sec lead over Estonian rival Robert Virves, while Finland’s Sami Pajari sits in third but closing in on 2nd.

Saturday’s leg facets one more compact day south of Ypres covering 119.92km of stages. Four morning checks foundation with Hollebeke, at 25.86km the longest of the rally, are repeated within the afternoon.

The provisional standings will be consulted right here.

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