2018 Rally Sweden: Victory for Thierry Neuville, Japanese triumph in WRC2

  • 2018 Rally Sweden, Thierry Neuville, Nicolas Golsoul, Hyindai i20 Coupe WRC
  • Thierry Neuville, 2018 Rally Sweden
  • 2018 Rally Sweden, Hyundai Motorsport, Thierry Neuville

Thierry Neuville and Nicolas Gilsoul are the winners of the 66th Rally Sweden, the second round of the 2018 FIA World Rally Championship. For the Belgian pair in the #5 Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC it’s the seventh WRC victory in a career and the first win in some snow rally.

It’s the first win for the Belgians in the 68-year-long history of Rally Sweden and Neuville became only the third non-Scandinavian winner of the event after Sebastien Loeb and Sebastien Ogier. The reigning world champion and the winner of the season-opening Rallye Monte-Carlo had a tough rally at Swedish snow, struggling from beginning to the end and taking tenth place. He also earned four points with second place at Power Stage.

2018 Rally Sweden, Hyundai, Thierry Neuville

All three Hyundai crews ended in the Top 5

Hyundai Motorsport has two crews on the podium after Andreas Mikkelsen/Anders Jaeger (#4 Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC) finished third, behind Craig Breen and Scott Martin (#11 Citroen C3 WRC) in the second place.

Esapekka Lappi (#9 Toyota Yaris WRC) steals the fourth place from Hayden Paddon (#6 Hyundai) on the last stage. Lappi was also the winner of the Power Stage, earning additional five points.

Other point scorers in the Top 10 are Mads Ostberg (6th, Citroen), Jari-Matti Latvala (7th, Toyota), Teemu Suninen (8th, Ford), Ott Tanak (9th, Toyota) and Sebastien Ogier (10th, Ford). Elfyn Evans initially finished 10th but he provoked time penalty after the last stage to promote his temmate for one place. Evans dropped to 14th.

2018 Rally Sweden, Takamoto Katsuta

Takamoto Katsuta is a sensational winner of WRC2 category at Rally Sweden

Japanese driver Takamoto Katsuta finished 11th overall and the winner of the WRC2 category, ahead of last year’s WRC2 champion Pontus Tidemand. The 24-year-old Katsuta is a member of Toyota rally programme and driver Ford Fiesta R5 for Tommi Makinen Racing.

Swedish youngster Denis Radstrom is the winner in the Junior WRC category, just seven seconds ahead of another Swed Emil Bergkvist.

2018 Rally Sweden, Thierry Neuville

Thierry Neuville is a new championship leader

Rally Sweden’s victory promoted Thierry Neuville to the championship lead, with 41 points after two events, ten more than Sebastien Ogier. Latvala and Lappi are tied in the third place with 23 points. Among manufacturers, Hyundai leads with 54 points, one more than Toyota. Citroen collected 46 points, M-Sport Ford has 43 points.

The next round of the World Rally Championship is Rally Mexico from March 8 to March 11.

Check the full results of the 66th Rally Sweden

Photos: Thierry Neuville & Hyundai Motorsport,

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