Thierry Neuville finally makes it! He wins 2017 Tour de Corse
Thierry Neuville finally makes it. After being among front-runners in the first three rounds of the 2017 World Rally Championship and dropping from lead at Rallye Monte-Carlo and Rally Sweden, the Belgian driver in the #5 Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC finally captures his first win of the season and third WRC victory in a career. He wins 2017 Tour de Corse, dominantly taking a win after 316.8 kilometers of running over 10 special stages at scenic asphalt routes over Corsica.
Double podium for Hyundai Motorsport
Dani Sordo doubles a triumph for Hyundai Motorsport, finishing in the third place, 56 seconds behind Neuville and 1.3 seconds behind Sebastien Ogier (M-Sport Ford). Ogier finished on the podium for the fourth event in a row.
Many drivers had problems at Corsican roads, so only six of manufacturers’ entries with World Rally Cars finished in the Top 10. Jari-Matti Latvala (Toyota) finished fourth, just tenth of a second ahead of Craig Breen (Citroen). Hayden Paddon brought the third Hyundai to the sixth place.
Engine failure forced Meeke to retire from a lead
One of the drivers who didn’t finish the race was Citroen’s Kris Meeke, who was a dominant driver on the first day of rally. He won three of four Friday’s stages, having a 10.3 seconds overnight advantage over Sebastien Ogier, who was fastest in one stage. Third-placed Neuville took a charge in Saturday morning, winning the Stage 5 and closing to 0.6 seconds behind Ogier. He won one more time at SS6 to take P2 from the Frenchman.
Disaster struck rally leader Kris Meeke after SS6, as engine failure forced him to retire. Neuville took the lead and stayed there until the end. He ended Saturday with a 38.9 seconds lead ahead of Ogier. On Sunday’s marathon stage (53.78 km) between Antisanti and Poggio di Nazza, Ogier was slowed down by mechanical problems on his #1 Ford Fiesta, so he lost more than twenty seconds and dropped to third place overall.
Power Stage win for Latvala
On the Power Stage, Jari-Matti Latvala has won additional five points, being the fastest on the 10.42 km long stage between Porto Vecchio and Palombaggia. Power Stage victory promoted him from fifth overall to P4. Sebastien Ogier was the second-fastest on the Power Stage, overtaking Dani Sordo in the overall classification.
Sebastien Ogier extends the lead in the championship standings. After four events, he collects 88 points, thirteen more than Latvala. Neuville is third with 54 points. In the Manufacturers’ standings, M-Sport is leading with 129 points, ahead of Hyundai with 105 points. Toyota collected 79 points, Citroen has 71 points on its account.
The next event in the WRC calendar is Rally Argentina on April 28-30.