Rally Sweden - Latest News

Hyundai's Thierry Neuville leads the Rally Sweden at the end of Saturday's leg after the recovering Ogier, who took the lead from Mikkelsen on Saturday morning following two errors from the Norwegian, reduced a half-minute gap to just 1.7 seconds heading to service. Ogier then struggled in the afternoon, frustrated by the stage conditions as first man on the road after the Historic field had created different lines in the melting snow. While Mikkelsen's advantage over the reigning World Champion quickly grew again, it was Neuville who was setting the outright pace.

Winning the opening Fredriksberg stage immediately took him up to second past Ogier, and then he saved two fresh tyres for the concluding Vargasen stage - helping him to another stage win and a 1.5s overall lead ahead of Mikkelsen. Mads Ostberg and Ott Tanak continue to hold fourth and fifth places, while Hayden Paddon edged away from the pack behind in sixth.

Elfyn Evans and Kris Meeke made the most of running further down the order to close on Prokop, with Meeke claiming his first stage win on snow on Rammen. The two Britons are just 0.4s apart in eighth and ninth, 19s behind Prokop and their pace means Yuriy Protasov is now a lonely 10th. Robert Kubica took his first stage win in Sweden on the short Hagfors Sprint, taking him past Henning Solberg into 15th overall, but a mistake on the next stage swapped their places again, as Jari-Matti Latvala closed right in behind them.

In the meantime Volkswagen World Rally Championship team principal Jost Capito is seeking clarification from the rally stewards regarding Sebastien Ogier's penalty - suspended for one year after the organisers of Rally Sweden caught the World Rally Championship speeding seven times on the recce. Capito said VW did not currently plan to appeal the decision, but wants further information. The suspended penalty will only be triggered if Ogier is clocked speeding on a recce, and does not apply for road sections during the rallies.

Results after SS18:

Pos Driver Team Car Gap

1 Thierry Neuville Hyundai Motorsport Hyundai 2h29m54.5s
2 Andreas Mikkelsen Volkswagen Motorsport II Volkswagen 1.5s
3 Sebastien Ogier Volkswagen Motorsport Volkswagen 9.6s
4 Mads Ostberg Citroen Total Abu Dhabi WRT Citroen 53.4s
5 Ott Tanak M-Sport World Rally Team Ford 1m29.2s
6 Hayden Paddon Hyundai Motorsport Hyundai 2m35.7s
7 Martin Prokop Jipocar Czech National Team Ford 3m03.1s
8 Elfyn Evans M-Sport World Rally Team Ford 3m22.1s
9 Kris Meeke Citroen Total Abu Dhabi WRT Citroen 3m22.5s
10 Yuriy Protasov M-Sport World Rally Team Ford 4m19.6s

14th February, 2015