Day one: 91.68 miles; 8 stages

Motor Sport News - - Rally Sweden | Round 02 -

Weather: over­cast -2 – -12 cel­sius Af­ter an early ding-dong with Jari-matti Lat­vala, Hyundai’s Thierry Neuville comes out as the day one winner for the sec­ond event in suc­ces­sion. Neuville hasn’t put a foot wrong on his way to five fastest times and a near half-minute lead over the Toy­ota driver. Lat­vala feels the Yaris WRC is crash­ing through early on, but rais­ing the rear ride height and stiff­en­ing the front sus­pen­sion cures that and in­spires fur­ther con­fi­dence. Un­for­tu­nately for the Fin­nish out­fit, the Toy­ota threat is halved when Juho Han­ni­nen crashes into a tree in a shunt re­mark­ably sim­i­lar in na­ture to the one that ruled him out of round one last month. Han­ni­nen’s Toy­ota will re­turn for day two. Ott Tanak spear­heads M-sport’s at­tack on Fri­day night, with team-mate and Monte winner Se­bastien Ogier sup­ping from a poi­soned chal­ice that leaves him first on the road as cham­pi­onship leader. Tanak is third over­all, and ad­mits run­ning third on the road has opened his eyes to Ogier’s view on be­ing up front in these con­di­tions. Ogier’s af­ter­noon is worse than his morn­ing, with the French­man forced to wi­den the nar­row tracks left by the his­toric cars that split the mod­ern field’s pas­sage through the stages. El­fyn Evans had made it three Fi­es­tas in the top six be­fore a punc­ture in Svull­rya cost him time. Citroen’s de­ter­mi­na­tion to bounce back from a trou­bled Monte Carlo Rally is spoiled slightly by a bro­ken front-right damper for Craig Breen and a loss of studs for team-mate Kris Meeke. The North­ern Ir­ish­man was gen­er­ally the quicker of the two C3 WRCS and last year’s Fin­land winner went to bed fourth.

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