Neuville leads tight chase for Croatia Rally win

football20 April 2024 21:30| © AFP
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Thierry Neuville @ Getty Images

World championship leader Thierry Neuville stayed on course for victory in the Rally of Croatia on Saturday but in a tight push for the line just under 12 seconds blanket the top three drivers.

Hyundai's Neuville goes into Sunday's finale with a narrow 4.9sec edge over Toyota's Elfyn Evans after the two title rivals were locked at the same time on Friday night.

Eight-time world champion Sebastien Ogier, in another Toyota, ended the day within 11.6sec of Neuville in third place.

"It's not a big lead, but we had a great day," said Neuville, now in his 10th season with Hyundai and who claimed victory in the season-opener in Monte Carlo.

"Despite a not perfect tyre choice this afternoon we were capable of defending our lead. We need to continue attacking and have a good tyre choice on Sunday. It wasn't easy when the weather wasn't very easy to judge."

Former world champion Ott Tanak was fourth, more than a minute off the lead in another Hyundai despite damaging a rear wheel when he ran wide and clipped a kerb.

Standings on Saturday:

1. Thierry Neuville/Martijn Wydaeghe (BEL/Hyundai): 2:09:46.0, 2. Elfyn Evans/Scott Martin (GBR/Toyota) at 4.9, 3. Sebastien Ogier/Vincent Landais (FRA/Toyota) 11.6, 4. Ott Tanak/Martin Jarveoja (EST/Hyundai) 1:15.5, 5. Adrien Fourmaux/Alexandre Coria (FRA/M-Sport Ford) 1:35.4