After leading the Rally Sweden for most of the stages from the start. disaster struck Thierry Neuville in his Hyundai WRC just before the end of day three when his car went off the road and broke a steering wheel. It was the second consecutive disappointment for the Belgian who was also leading the Rally Monte Carlo when he broke a wheel on the penultimate stage.
He was leading the rally from Jari-Matti Latvala by 51 seconds when the accident happened on the last stage of the day. With four stages left tomorrow Jari-Matti Latvala in a Toyota Gazoo Yaris has taken over the lead and starts the last day tomorrow 3.8seconds ahead of Ott Tanak in a M-Sport Ford Fiesta RT-RS WRC.
It is going to be a nail-biting finish. Tanak won four stages this afternoon to breathe down Latvala’s neck. Latvala was fighting Neuville for first with Ogier now third with the demise of Neuville and Meeke’s crash earlier in the afternoon.
Tanak will be doing his best to give M-Sport their seconde consecutive win after Sebastien Ogier won the Rally Monte Carlo, while all eyes will be on Latvala to see if he can give Toyota their first win since returning to the World Rally Championship.
Sat 18:26 – SS15: WRC 2 update Drama-free so far for the WRC 2 runners. Top three Tidemand, Suninen and Veiby are through cleanly.
Sat 18:23 – Neuville guttedThe former rally leader is left watching his car being hauled onto the truck. This has echoes of Jari-Matti Latvala’s disaster at Rally Poland 2009 when he crashed out from second place on the final Super Special stage.
Sat 18:15 – Deju Neu! It’s the second rally in a row where Thierry has lost a secure rally lead. At Rallye Monte-Carlo he was leading by 51sec when he went off and broke his suspension. And that was on Saturday’s final stage too!
Sat 18:08 – Neuville out! The Belgian’s car is leaving the stage on the back of a tow truck
Sat 18:07 – Neuville stops! Disaster for the rally leader! He’s gone off and broken his car’s steering. Hyundai report he has lost a wheel. Crew okay.
Sat 18:03 – SS15: Tanak vs Latvala Tanak takes this one, nibbling another five-tenths from Latvala’s already slender advantage. Ahead of tomorrow’s final four stages, Latvala is just 3.8sec ahead.
Sat 17:57 – SS15: Meeke vs Ogier Ogier wins this battle by 1.4sec and goes second quickest so far, three-tenths off Sordo’s leading time.
Sat 17:55 – SS15: Sordo vs Breen Sordo wins this heat by 2.6sec and goes quickest so far. The result makes Sordo’s fifth position a little more comfortable. Breen will start Sunday’s competition 25sec behind in sixth place.
Sat 17:50 – SS15: Paddon vs Evans Two of the 2017-spec World Rally Cars up next. Evans reported a serious lack of grip on the previous stage, and the packed ice surface here won’t help. Paddon wins the heat by 3.8sec.
Sat 17:47 – SS15: Gorban vs Lefebvre The first pairing sees two 2016-spec cars go head-to head. Lefebvre [Citroen DS 3] wins the heat by 3.5sec from Gorban’s Mini, his time: 1m34.6s.
Sat 17:44 – Driver quotesNone available at this stage, so we’ll bring you the stage times and of course updates on any breaking news.
Sat 17:42 – Welcome back Cars are at the Karlstad trotting track ready for Saturday’s final test – the head-to-head Super Special.
Sat 16:22 – Next stage: 1745hrsCrews are en route to Karlstad – a 99km journey – for the second trip to the Karlstad Super Special. First cars on stage at 1745hrs. We’ll resume our live text service then.
Sat 16:21 – SS14: Tempestini A roll in stage for the Italian. Crew are okay.
Sat 16:14 – SS14: WRC 2 Solberg Henning offers another case study in WRC resourcefulness. His Fabia has a new windscreen thanks to fellow WRC 2 competitor Alexey Lukyanuk. “Thanks to him – we took this one from his recce car. It was a hire car, the screen still has the Europecar sticker on!” Solberg explains.
Sat 16:09 – SS14: WRC 2 Brynildsen Another record push – but to no avail. “I tried to break it again – I was absolutely flat but I couldn’t build up enough speed.”
Sat 16:05 – SS14: Lukyanuk WRC+ live tracking shows him stopped in stage.
Sat 16:05 – Sweden WRC2 after SS141.Tidemand 2h09m56.7, 2.Suninen +1m14.5s, 3.Veiby +1m20.1s, 4.Camilli +2m46.9s, 5.Greensmith +4m34.1s
Sat 16:05 – Sweden after SS141.Neuville 2h02m41.2s, 2.Latvala +43.3s, 3.Tanak +47.6s, 4.Ogier +1m00.5s, 5.Sordo +2m23.7s
Sat 16:01 – SS14: WRC 2 Veiby 1.5sec slower than Suninen here, and that leaves him 5.6sec behind the standings. “My driving changes are working well since service. There are still some seconds to go to catch Suninen but we will keep going.”
Sat 15:59 – SS14: WRC 2 Suninen Unruffled. “It was okay, one small mistake but an okay time. The jump was fine – we have these everywhere in Finland.”
Sat 15:58 – SS14: WRC 2 Tidemand “Very happy. An amazing stage, a lot of spectators – the coolest stage so far. Looking forward now to getting to the end of the day.”
Sat 15:56 – SS14: Ostberg Fourth quickest through the stage, but more concerned with his Colin’s Crest jump of 44 metres – one metre shy of the record. “I missed the corner before and lost some speed! Of course I wanted it [the record] – I was thinking about the jump all the way through. This is the most important thing in the world now. I couldn’t stand up to the pressure, apparently!”
Sat 15:52 – SS14: Neuville The rally leader goes quickest so far – 3.3sec up on Ogier. ‘That’s a surprise to be honest. I didn’t push. I drove well but I was disturbed by a strange smell in the car – the screen heater I think.”
Sat 15:49 – SS14: Meeke He completes with the loss of more than eight minutes – and plunges down the standings. “The rear snapped away from me coming into a left-hander and I couldn’t turn in. Thanks to the spectators for helping us.”
Sat 15:46 – SS14: Latvala Six seconds slower than Tanak here and Jari-Matti’s advantage in the overall standings is down to 4.3sec. And with Ogier not far behind, it’s game-on in the fight for second! “It seems we lost time here,” Latvala acknowledges. “The tyres were maybe too worn I couldn’t get the feeling. Also Kris Meeke was off the road and I had to slow down.”
Sat 15:43 – SS14: Tanak Second quickest. “Wide on one corner near the end but a good clean run. I saw [Meeke’s co-driver] Paul in the stage waving at us to slow down.”
Sat 15:39 – Meeke update His C3 went off the road approaching a left-hand corner and stopped in a snow-covered clearing just lower than the road. Crew are okay. The car looks okay too but appears to be beached. The engine is running and spectators are trying to push the car approx 20 metres back onto the road.
Sat 15:36 – SS14: Ogier Quickest so far, 8.9sec up on Sordo. “Really slippery for sure. I struggled to go any faster. I hoped to have more speed today.”
Sat 15:34 – Meeke off! WRC shows him stopped at 7.7km. He had been in fifth position.
Sat 15:33 – SS14: Paddon7.9sec off Sordo’s pace here. “Trying to enjoy it, but it’s not easy driving this one for the first time at full speed.”
Sat 15:30 – SS14: Sordo 1.3sec quicker than Breen. “No grip but I had to keep the speed up because Breen is getting close.”
Sat 15:28 – SS14: Breen Fastest of the four cars through so far, but not a comfortable ride. “I’m really struggling with the rear of the car. Trying to carry some good speed in places but the rear is trying to get past me in others.”
Sat 15:24 – SS14: Evans “I didn’t have any grip at all. A very difficult stage.”
Sat 15:21 – SS14: Lefebvre “A bit better but the snow felt strange compared to the first pass. The first time for me in these conditions.”
Sat 15:18 – SS14: Gorban“A little bit faster and a higher jump,” says Gorban’s co-driver Sergei.
Sat 15:15 – Colin’s Crest Eynind Brynildsen’s 45-metre record looks safe for now. He set it on the second pass through Vargåsen last year – so the measuring tapes are out this time…
Sat 15:11 – Watch SS14 LIVEWRC+ users can watch this stage via our live streaming service
Sat 15:06 – Up next: SS14 A 26km road section and crews start the repeat of Vargåsen. Gorban’s start time: 1508hrs.
Sat 15:04 – Sweden WRC2 after SS131.Tidemand 2h01m23.7, 2.Suninen +1m13.0s, 3.Veiby +1m17.1s, 4.Camilli +2m38.2s, 5.Bergkvist +4m17.4s
Sat 15:02 – Sweden after SS131.Neuville 1h54m33.7s, 2.Latvala +31.6s, 3.Tanak +41.9s, 4.Ogier +57.2s, 5.Meeke +1m12.5s
Sat 15:00 – SS13: WRC 2 VeibyQuickest so far in WRC 2 and in the overall standings Veiby trails Suninen by just 4.1sec. “I changed my driving style a bit here and it seems to work.” Veiby adds that he is confident of taking second place from Suninen.
Sat 14:56 – SS13: Bertelli He completes with the loss of three minutes. “Same problem with the engine that we had before service – no power.”
Sat 14:55 – SS13: WRC 2 Tidemand “It was a nice stage. Good grip and fantastic stage – a lot of people.”
Sat 14:52 – SS13: Bertelli Stopped on stage. Going again. Splits show he has dropped almost two minutes.
Sat 14:50 – SS13: Ostberg Seventh quickest and having a mindfulness moment. “Not the worst activity for a Saturday is it?”
Sat 14:48 – SS13: Neuville Third quickest here keeps him comfortably in the lead. Neuville satisfied that his cautious choice of two spare tyres was the correct one. “The stage went well. The car was moving a bit at the rear with the extra weight of the second tyre but the grip is huge. I will be fine.”
Sat 14:45 – SS13: Latvala Another new fastest time, 1.1sec up on Tanak, and Jari-Matti keeps his rival at bay. Latvala’s advantage over Tanak is now 10.3sec. “I’m happy about that. A good stage, but the downhill section was very difficult on the loose now – I thought I had a puncture.”
Sat 14:44 – SS13: Tanak Ott sets a new fastest time, 1.1sec up on his team-mate Ogier. “Really good grip and I’m trying my best. It’s difficult because everybody is trying. Can I catch Jari-Matti? I’ll keep pushing and see what happens.”
Sat 14:42 – SS13: Meeke 1.2sec slower than Ogier here, and the gap between them widens to 15.3sec. “Like before we struggled on the downhill section to the finish. I tried to improve my speed there but not enough.”
Sat 14:39 – SS13: Ogier Quickest so far. “The grip is getting better and better. There’s more gravel too, but not enough to badly affect the tyres.”
Sat 14:38 – SS13: Paddon Second quickest so far, 3.4sec slower than stage leader Breen, and his car’s power steering is fixed. “It’s much easier with some power steering – it feels like I have a feather at my finger tips. Trying now to get a good rhythm and have some fun.”
Sat 14:34 – SS13: Sordo “A nice stage. Very fast. I like it.”
Sat 14:32 – SS13: Breen “It was a bit better than this morning. Another stage without any mistakes so we can be happy with that.”
Sat 14:31 – SS13: Evans “It was okay, but there’s pretty much a defined line now – and if you drive off it it’s very slippery.”
Sat 14:30 – SS13: Lefebvre Time loss for the Frenchman near the finish. “I hit a snow bank in the last corner and lost 20 or 30 seconds.”
Sat 14:28 – SS13: Gorban The Ukrainian completes in 8m45.2s. That’s 12sec quicker than his earlier pass.
Sat 14:22 – SS13: Live Gorban, Lefebvre and Evans in stage.
Sat 14:20 – Tyre infoNews on the tyre choices for the afternoon loop: All Michelin World Rally Car crews have the same ‘X Ice North 3’ studded tyres, but the number of spares they are carrying varies. Most have taken one, except Neuville, Sordo and Meeke, who have two.
Sat 14:17 – Weather updateNo big change since this morning. Broken cloud over the stages. The temperature in Torsby is -2˚C.
Sat 14:16 – Hej!Welcome back.
Sat 13:16 – Rally Sweden 2017 / SS11 Re-LiveWatch all Re-Live Stages on wrcplus.com! Upcoming Live Stage: SS15 live from 15:00 (CET, local time Sweden)
Sat 11:27 – Next stage: 1417hrsFollowing the cancellation of SS12 on safety grounds, our next stage is the repeat of Hagfors (SS13) at 1417hrs. We’ll resume our live text shortly before to bring a weather and tyre update.
More to follow later.