WRC Croatia: Neuville receives time penalty denting podium hopes

Thierry Neuville has dropped out of the Rally Croatia podium places after a suspected alternator issue resulted in the Hyundai driver checking into service late.

WRC Croatia: Neuville receives time penalty denting podium hopes

Neuville and co-driver Martijn Wydaeghe were forced to push their i20 N for 800m on a road section, reaching the service park in Zagreb four minutes late, resulting in a 40-second time penalty. The exhausted duo slumped over their car once they eventually reached the time control.

As a result of the penalty, Toyota’s Kalle Rovanpera now holds a significant 47.3s lead over Hyundai’s Ott Tanak with M-Sport’s Crag Breen, 1.9s back in third.    

“Thierry Neuville and Martijn Wydaeghe had to push their car for 800m on the road section going back to service as it wouldn’t start due to a potential alternator issue,” read a statement from Hyundai. 

“Unfortunately they got a 40s penalty for checking in four minutes late into time control.

“Our Belgian crew made an enormous effort and acne again showed that they never give up. We will investigate the issue in service to make sure they can fight back this afternoon.”  

 


Neuville ended the final stage of the morning loop sitting second, 12.5s adrift of Rovanpera. The 33-year-old's i20 N appeared to be running smoothly across the morning stages setting the second fastest time on three of the four stages, held in treacherous wet conditions.

Neuville was also issued with a second penalty in the form of a €1,900 fine for speeding prior to the incident. 

The Belgian was clocked driving at 156kph on a road section limited to 80kph.

Only eight of the 11 Rally1 entries remain in action on Friday after an eventful opening morning.

Toyota’s Esapekka Lappi retired on the opening stage after clouting a rock with the right front of his GR Yaris which damaged the car’s suspension. The team is hopeful the Finn will return to action on Saturday.

M-Sport’s Pierre-Louis Loubet suffered three punctures across the first three stages forcing the Frenchman to end his WRC return early. It is expected that he will restart tomorrow. 

Team-mate Adrien Fourmaux spun off the wet road 200m into stage 3 and ended up going through a hedge, before coming to rest in a garden of a residential property. 

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