Thierry Neuville took the full mark in the morning session of the second day of Rally Spain, extending his lead in the event against Toyota’s Elvin Evans.
The Hyundai Neuville driver delivered a perfect performance in foggy conditions at times to widen the 0.7sec difference from yesterday to 9secs this morning against Evans.
And while Evans was unable to match Neuville, he is still comfortably ahead of title rival Sebastien Ogier, who could win his eighth title this weekend if he beats the Welshman by 6 points.
Ogier is out of the question for the top spot in the rally, trailing 32 seconds behind, with Dani Sordo trailing him directly behind by just 0.2 seconds in the race for the last podium.
On the other hand, Toyota driver Kali Rovanpera survived a major accident in the last stage of this morning to maintain fifth overall in front of Adrian Formo, driver of “M-Sport”, who came close to within 1.7 seconds of scoring the second stage victory in his career today.
Oliver Solberg and Neil Solans moved up to seventh and eighth after trouble hit Gus Greensmith in the closing stage this morning.
Foggy conditions and a wet track greeted the drivers for the opening stage of the day, but it did not stop Neuville’s crawl for his fifth stage win so far, 1.7secs ahead of Evans in the morning’s first stage to extend his lead to 2.4secs.
Rovanpera was the third fastest driver on the stage ahead of Ogier, who eased the pressure on him from Sordo.
As the atmosphere improved in the next stage, Neuville advanced further to take the win as well, 4.3 seconds faster than Evans to extend his lead at that point to 6.7 seconds.
But the star of that stage was likely Formo, who lost a close victory to Neuville, who beat him by 1.7 seconds.
Neuville continued to dominate the period with winning the third stage, but he faced fierce competition from his colleague Sordo, who beat him by only 0.2 seconds, while Evans was third.