WRC Catalunya: Meeke closes on victory as Neuville retires

Citroen's Kris Meeke closed in on Rally Spain victory over the three stage Sunday morning loop, as Thierry Neuville's title challenge unravelled further with retirement

WRC Catalunya: Meeke closes on victory as Neuville retires

Meeke was quickest through all three of the stages, most impressively on the second stage of the loop SS15 Riudecanyes.

At the infamous Coll de la Teixeta roundabout where drivers do a donut as part of a stage for watching spectators, his Citroen stuttered exiting the roundabout, costing him what he reckoned to be four seconds.

He extended his lead from overnight to 23.9s at the end of the loop.

Neuville collected a rock on the last stage of the loop, forcing him to retire putting a huge dent in his championship hopes.

He started the event 17 points behind Sebastien Ogier, and won't score here with two further events remaining.

Neuville's team-mates Dani Sordo and Andreas Mikkelsen both retired after also hitting rocks, on Saturday.

Behind Meeke the M-Sport battle rages between Ogier and Ott Tanak, with the former ahead by 1.8s with three stages to go and Tanak rounds out the podium spots.

Both can win the title, and were boosted by Neuville's issues, as were M-Sport who are likely to add to their manufacturers' championship lead with the three Hyundais out.

Toyota driver Juho Hanninen's rapid pace on Saturday morning means his fourth place is safe, 1m24.2s clear of Ostberg in fifth.

Stephane Lefebvre upped his pace, but also benefitted from Hanninen's team-mate Esapekka Lappi crashing on SS15, handing him a net sixth with Neuville still on the timing screens but no longer able to continue.

Elfyn Evans struggled with the turn in after some radical setup changes aboard his DMACK Ford Fiesta, and he's the last 2017 WRC car in the top 10 in a net seventh.

M-Sport Fiesta R5 driver Teemu Suninen continues to lead the WRC2 class. He sits eighth overall, 36.7s ahead of class rival Ole Christian Veiby's Skoda Fabia R5.

Leading positions after SS16

Pos Driver Team Car Gap
1 Kris Meeke, P.Nagle Citroen Total Abu Dhabi WRT Citroen 2h38m51.7s
2 Sebastien Ogier, J.Ingrassia M-Sport World Rally Team Ford 23.9s
3 Ott Tanak, M.Jarveoja M-Sport World Rally Team Ford 25.7s
4 Juho Hanninen, K.Lindstrom Toyota Gazoo Racing WRC Toyota 42.8s
5 Mads Ostberg, T.Eriksen M-Sport World Rally Team Ford 2m07.0s
6 Thierry Neuville, N.Gilsoul Hyundai Motorsport Hyundai 2m12.1s
7 Stephane Lefebvre, G.Moreau Citroen Total Abu Dhabi WRT Citroen 2m23.0s
8 Elfyn Evans, D.Barritt M-Sport World Rally Team Ford 3m59.3s
9 Teemu Suninen, M.Markkula M-Sport World Rally Team Ford 7m22.8s
10 Ole-Christian Veiby, S.R.Skjaermoen Printsport Skoda 7m59.5s
11 Jan Kopecky, P.Dresler Skoda Motorsport II Skoda 8m00.5s
12 Pierre-Louis Loubet, V.Landais Ford 10m26.4s
13 Benito Guerra, D.Cue Motorsport Italia Skoda 11m27.5s
14 Eric Camilli, B.Veillas M-Sport World Rally Team Ford 11m38.0s
15 Juuso Nordgren, T.Suominen Skoda Motorsport II Skoda 12m13.2s
16 Simone Tempestini, G.Bernacchini Gekon racing Citroen 12m19.6s
17 Khalid Al-Qassimi, C.Patterson Citroen Total Abu Dhabi WRT Citroen 13m39.7s
18 Lukasz Pieniazek, P.Mazur TRT Peugeot WRT Peugeot 14m18.7s
19 Dani Sordo, M.Marti Hyundai Motorsport Hyundai 14m19.5s
20 Cristian Garcia, P.Marcos Ford 15m03.8s
21 Andreas Mikkelsen, A.Jager Hyundai Motorsport Hyundai 15m18.8s
22 Orhan Avcioglu, B.Korkmaz Toksport WRT Skoda 16m24.2s
23 Jeremie Toedtli, A.Paque Skoda 17m26.4s
24 Jon Armstrong, N.O'Sullivan Drive Dmack Ford 20m20.3s
25 Valeriy Gorban, S.Larens Eurolamp WRT Mini 21m02.4s
26 Jean-Michel Raoux, L.Magat Citroen 21m15.8s
27 Yoann Bonato, B.Boulloud Citroen 23m05.1s
28 Nil Solans, M.A.Ibanez Ford 23m38.8s
29 Eamonn Boland, M.J.Morrissey Ford 23m49.9s
30 Raphael Astier, F.Vauclare Peugeot 24m43.5s
31 Terry Folb, C.Guieu Ford 25m20.0s
32 Jose Luis Pelaez, R.Del Barrio RMC Motorsport Ford 28m19.7s
33 Julius Tannert, J.Heigl ADAC Sachsen Ford 28m25.3s
34 Jourdan Serderidis, F.Miclotte Citroen 29m13.4s
35 Rhys Yates, A.Lee Gemini Clinic Rally Team Ford 30m56.6s
36 Marcel Besoli, X.Carulla Andorra Auto Club Peugeot 31m59.9s
37 Josep Anton Domenech, M.Marchal Escuderia Gironella Citroen 35m45.4s
38 Mats Andersson, J.Jonsson Opel 40m30.5s
39 Dennis Radstrom, J.Johansson Ford 42m24.6s
40 Reiner Kuhn, E.Kremer Ford 44m08.1s
41 Nicolas Ciamin, T.de la Haye Ford 44m34.9s
42 Jan Solans, M.Barreiro Escuderia Motor Terrassa Ford 46m25.8s
43 Sergi Francoli Comellas, G.A.Adelantado Escuderia Motor Terrassa Peugeot 48m15.5s
44 Gianluca Tavelli, N.Cottellero Peugeot 48m20.0s
45 Fabio Andolfi, S.Scattolin ACI Team Italia Hyundai 52m33.6s
46 Gus Greensmith, C.Parry Ford 52m35.5s
47 Martin Navas, A.L.Fernandez RMC Motorsport Ford 53m54.9s
48 Pablo Suarez, I.Pereira Escuderia Aterura Peugeot 53m58.1s
49 Marc Paradell, X.Q.Milan Motor Club Sabadell Peugeot 54m02.6s
50 Philippe Gomez, S.Mollar Peugeot 56m32.5s
51 Enric Sans, J.Venceslao Escuderia Motor Terrassa Peugeot 1h07m16.4s
52 Zihara Esteban, A.S.Gonzalez GC Motorsport Peugeot 1h10m04.3s
53 Joan Font, E.Velasco PCR Sport Mitsubishi 1h12m11.0s
54 Takamoto Katsuta, M.Salminen Tommi Makinen Racing Ford 1h14m46.4s
55 Felix Macias, M.Alvarez Team Repauto Subaru 1h19m05.2s
56 Joao Fernando Ramos, J.M.Carvalho RMC Motorsport Ford 1h44m17.1s


shares
comments
Rally Catalunya: Meeke holds overnight lead, two Hyundais crash out

Previous article

Rally Catalunya: Meeke holds overnight lead, two Hyundais crash out

Next article

WRC Catalunya: Meeke takes victory as Ogier extends title lead

WRC Catalunya: Meeke takes victory as Ogier extends title lead
Load comments
Does Neuville have a point with his Rally1 rant? Plus

Does Neuville have a point with his Rally1 rant?

OPINION: Thierry Neuville's diatribe against the upcoming Rally1-spec machines that will usher in the World Rally Championship's new hybrid era was remarkable in an era where drivers are usually reticent to air their views in public. But are the Belgian's concerns about speed, safety and cost entirely valid?

WRC
Sep 16, 2021
How the WRC's new flying Finn reached new heights in the Greek mountains Plus

How the WRC's new flying Finn reached new heights in the Greek mountains

After Kalle Rovanpera’s historic feat at Rally Estonia, the Finn scaled new heights at the Rally of the Gods with a commanding victory. And this time Toyota’s young star demonstrated why the future is bright with his devastating speed and consistency at the Acropolis Rally

WRC
Sep 13, 2021
The WRC drivers that came of age at the Acropolis Rally Plus

The WRC drivers that came of age at the Acropolis Rally

Five drivers have won first time out at the Rally Acropolis, transcending the tough dirt and gravel Greek roads to cement a place in rallying folklore. Here are three of the first-time winners' tales

WRC
Sep 9, 2021
Understanding Suninen’s sudden WRC exit gamble Plus

Understanding Suninen’s sudden WRC exit gamble

From being considered a likely contender to drive the next-generation M-Sport Ford Puma in 2022, Teemu Suninen's abrupt exit has created plenty of questions. The Finn's bid to become his country's next World Rally Championship winner won't be furthered by being sidelined, but there may be reason behind the decision

WRC
Sep 2, 2021
Could Spa’s cameo offer the WRC a new avenue to exploit? Plus

Could Spa’s cameo offer the WRC a new avenue to exploit?

OPINION: The Ypres Rally featured a cameo from the Spa-Francorchamps circuit in its final stage, giving WRC teams the chance to experience its iconic corners in rallying machinery. It proved to be an engaging addition to the rally, and could perhaps serve as an example for other events to visit famous circuits

WRC
Aug 24, 2021
How Hyundai's home hero delivered overdue WRC success in Belgium Plus

How Hyundai's home hero delivered overdue WRC success in Belgium

With limited recent fortune and pressure starting to mount, Hyundai needed a big result at the Ypres Rally. All the key components came together in Belgium to see home hero Thierry Neuville lead a manufacturer 1-2 and kickstart its World Rally Championship challenge

WRC
Aug 16, 2021
The new car that can resurrect Ford's WRC winning pedigree Plus

The new car that can resurrect Ford's WRC winning pedigree

M-Sport has become the first to unveil its new-for-2022 hybrid World Rally Championship challenger, the Puma Rally1. Ford has upped its support in a bid for glory, but can the new machine roll back the years and return the Blue Oval to the top of the WRC tree?

WRC
Aug 12, 2021
The rookie WRC driver aiming to continue Loeb and Ogier's legacies Plus

The rookie WRC driver aiming to continue Loeb and Ogier's legacies

French drivers have dominated the World Rally Championship across the past two decades; Sebastiens Loeb and Ogier have racked up the titles in commanding fashion. With Ogier calling it a day on full-time WRC competition from next year, France will pin its long-term hopes on rookie Adrien Fourmaux, who looks to have a bright future.

WRC
Aug 7, 2021