Neuville leads Rally Sweden Day One

Thierry Neuville took up in Sweden where he left off in Monte Carlo after a dominant afternoon on Rally Sweden, retaking and extending his lead to a commanding 28.1 seconds after losing out to Jari-Matti Latvala on the last stage of the morning loop after hitting a rock but was back ahead in the Hof-Finnskog test. He then took 17.9s out of Latvala through Svullrya, the stage he had hit the rock on in the morning and extended the gap further on the Torsby test.

Meeke stole third from Tanak on the penultimate stage of the day, another second-quickest time to match one from the morning means the C3 WRC driver is in podium contention in fourth place and Tanak's team-mate Sebastien Ogier struggled with cleaning the road but a rapid time in Svullrya limited the damage and is now 3.9s behind Meeke but 55.7s adrift of Neuville with two days of action to go.

The new FIA regulations mean that Ogier won't have to run first on the road on Saturday and will have a better chance of competing for stage wins. Hayden Paddon put in a resurgent performance after changes at service unlocked a much more "drivable" Hyundai and having been at the back end of the top 10, the Kiwi was in the top five on all of the final three stages of the day to jump team-mate Dani Sordo for sixth.

In his first appearance in a 2017-spec WRC car, Craig Breen lost confidence after putting his Citroen in a bank but holds eighth ahead of Elfyn Evans who combined flashes of pace with a puncture that sent him down the order. Mads Ostberg had a difficult afternoon which included losing the rear wing of his new 2017-spec Ford Fiesta WRC over a fast crest but the precious wing was returned after a social media campaign by the team, seeking the reasons for the loss. Toyota driver Juho Hanninen retired after hitting a tree for the second rally in a row.

Skoda works driver Pontus Tidemand is dominating WRC2, over half a minute ahead of works M-Sport Fiesta driver Teemu Suninen.
Top Ten Positions after SS:8

Pos .... Driver .... Car .... Gap
1. Thierry Neuville, N.Gilsoul Hyundai 1h16m24.7s
2. Jari-Matti Latvala, M.Anttila Toyota 28.1s
3. Ott Tanak, M.Jarveoja Ford 49.7s
4. Kris Meeke, P.Nagle Citroen 51.8s
5. Sebastien Ogier, J.Ingrassia Ford 55.7s
6. Hayden Paddon, J.Kennard Hyundai 1m17.8s
7. Dani Sordo, M.Marti Hyundai 1m40.3s
8. Craig Breen, S.Martin Citroen 1m54.3s
9. Elfyn Evans, D.Barritt Ford 3m01.5s
10. Stephane Lefebvre, G.Moreau Citroen 3m23.6s

10th February, 2017