Latvala Leads Rally Sweden

Toyota team leader Jari-Matti Latvala inherited the lead of Rally Sweden after Thierry Neuville crashed his Hyundai i20 out of the event while leading and controling the Saturday action to extend his lead to over 40 seconds, but he crashed on the end-of-day superspecial stage, losing a wheel and any hopes of a first win in Sweden.

The Hyundai Team aims to fix the car overnight before sending Neuville back out under Rally2 rules on Sunday, when he will have the chance to score points in the powerstage and what had been shaping up to be a three-way battle for second is now the lead fight, with 16.6s covering the group entering Sunday's final three stages.

After a succession of quickest stage times on Saturday morning, Ott Tanak had eaten into Latvalas advantage all day, reducing it to 3.8s after the superspecial. The M-Sport driver also has one eye over his shoulder as team-mate Sebastien Ogier began to claw back time on Saturday afternoon.

The four-time WRC champion cleaned the road on Friday and was unimpressive on Saturday morning compared to Fiesta colleague Tanak, but he came alive in the afternoon to sit third, 12.8s behind Tanak going into the final day. Dani Sordo drove consistently on Saturday afternoon, pushing where he felt comfortable in his Hyundai i20 and moved up earlier in the day thanks to his team-mate Hayden Paddon falling down the order with powersteering failure.

Paddon now sits seventh, behind Citroen C3 WRC driver Craig Breen and DMACK Fiesta WRC driver Elfyn Evans. Stephane Lefebvre is the last of the WRC cars in the top 10, albeit in a 2016-spec Citroen DS 3 R5, in eighth. Missing from the top 10 was Breen's team-mate Kris Meeke, who crashed out of fifth place on Saturday afternoon when he was caught out on a crest and went straight on at a slow-speed left hander on the second Hagfors test. He got going again losing eight minutes, with spectators pushing his beached car back onto the road.

Pontus Tidemand continues to lead WRC2 by over a minute in his works-backed Skoda Fabia R5.
Impressively, the home favourite is also ninth overall ahead of second-placed WRC2 man Teemu Suninen and OC Veiby's Fabia.

Pos Driver Car Gap
1 Jari-Matti Latvala, M.Anttila Toyota 2h04m59.3s
2 Ott Tanak, M.Jarveoja Ford 3.8s
3 Sebastien Ogier, J.Ingrassia Ford 16.6s
4 Dani Sordo, M.Marti Hyundai 1m39.5s
5 Craig Breen, S.Martin Citroen 2m04.5s
6 Elfyn Evans, D.Barritt Ford 3m44.7s
7 Hayden Paddon, J.Kennard Hyundai 5m00.2s
8 Stephane Lefebvre, G.Moreau Citroen 5m37.0s
9 Pontus Tidemand, J.Andersson Skoda 6m36.7s
10 Teemu Suninen, M.Markkula Ford 7m52.9s

11th February, 2017