Neuville Wins in Corsica

Thierry Neuville took a dramatic WRC win for Hyundai on the Tour of Corsica as Elfyn Evans' M-Sport Fiesta suffered a puncture on the final stage after leading Neuville by 11.5 seconds heading into the Power Stage. This followed a stunning time earlier in the morning which allowed him to retake the lead he lost on Saturday. However, Evans picked up a front-right puncture on the final stage and dropped over a minute, plummeting to third overall.

Events then gifted Neuville his first win of the season and with it the championship lead, two points ahead of Sebastien Ogier who didn't win a single stage all weekend but came home a surprise second overall for Citroen. The Frenchman had never been particularly happy with the feeling of his C3 despite trying several different suspension set-ups, but kept out of trouble and snuck his way up the leaderboard to score second.

Evans had hit the front as early as stage one, leading Toyota's Ott Tanak after Friday's action. Tanak fought back on Saturday, edging into the lead by lunchtime before his challenge unravelled on SS11 when he picked up a puncture and lost two minutes meaning the Toyota driver eventually finished sixth, dropping him first to third in the championship.

Dani Sordo was fourth for Hyundai, having taken a sole stage win on the mammoth 30-mile Castagniccia test. He had been running ahead of Ogier for much of the rally only for his brakes to fade on Sunday morning. Teemu Suninen did exactly what was asked of him by his M-Sport Ford team and finished the rally without incident, ending up fifth overall.

Citroen's Esapekka Lappi was frustrated all weekend as he struggled to get on top of an ill-handling C3 WRC. However, the Finn made no mistakes and bagged seventh place for his efforts. Nine-time world champion Sebastien Loeb's rally was almost over before it begun, as he slid wide into a kerb on the opening stage. The Hyundai driver lost two minutes as he limped through the test with a broken rear steering arm. Loeb recovered to eighth, surviving a spin on Saturday morning when he understeered into a ditch.

Kris Meeke's pace promised a much stronger finish than ninth, but he was another to lose time as early as stage one. The Briton cut a corner and immediately wrecked the front-left tyre on his Toyota, and then made the same mistake against a kerb but saved his tyres on Sunday morning to allow him a scorching run on the Power Stage to earn him five extra championship points. Jari-Matti Latvala had a disappointing weekend, with two punctures on Friday and Saturday harming his cause. The Toyota driver ended up 10th, over a minute-and-a-half behind teammate Meeke.

Final results:
Pos Driver/Co-driver Car Time/Gap
1. Thierry Neuville/Nicolas Gilsoul Hyundai i20 Coupe 3:22'59.0
2. Sťbastien Ogier/Julien Ingrassia CitroŽn C3 40.3
3. Elfyn Evans/Scott Martin Ford Fiesta 1'06.6
4 . Dani Sordo/Carlos del Barrio Hyundai i20 Coupe 1'18.4
5. Teemu Suninen/Marko Salminen Ford Fiesta 1'24.6
6. Ott Tanak/Martin Jarveoja Toyota Yaris 1'40.0
7. Esapekka Lappi/Janne Ferm CitroŽn C3 2'09.1
8. Sťbastien Loeb/Daniel Elena Hyundai i20 Coupe 3'39.2
9. Kris Meeke/Sebastian Marshall Toyota Yaris 5'06.3
10. Jari-Matti Latvala/Miikka Anttila Toyota Yaris 6'44.6

Drivers Championship Positions
1. Thierry Neuville 82
2. Sebastien Ogier 80
3. Ott Tanak 77
4. Elfyn Evans 43
5. Kris Meeke 42
6. Esapekka Lappi 26
7. Sebastien Loeb 22
8. Dani Sordo 16
9. Jari-Matti Latvala 15
10. Teemu Suninen 14

Manufacturer Championship
1. Hyundai Shell Mobis 114
2. Citroen Total 112
3. Toyota Gazoo 98
4. M-Sport Ford 70

31st March, 2019