WRC leader Thierry Neuville dominates Ypres Rally with Hyundai

World Rally Championship points leader Thierry Neuville dominated the Ypres Rally, winning 15 of the 23 stages

WRC leader Thierry Neuville dominates Ypres Rally with Hyundai

Neuville made a one-off appearance at the classic Belgian rally for the second consecutive year in a Hyundai i20 R5, with a special charity livery.

He crashed out of the event last year, but made few mistakes on this year's rally, building and maintaining a comfortable lead from the second stage to the finish.

Neuville beat a quintet of his fellow countrymen, all driving Skoda Fabia R5s and led by Vincent Verschuren - who finished 40.4 seconds adrift.

"At the Ypres Rally you can always end in a ditch, so towards the end we just wanted to avoid the mistakes and make sure we protected the lead," said Neuville.

Bryan Bouffier, the 2017 Ypres runner-up, won the opening stage of the rally but suffered a heavy crash on the very next stage and was hospitalised with a compressed vertebra that will sideline him from competition for a period.

Former Hyundai WRC driver Kevin Abbring, who beat Bouffier to Ypres victory last year, also hit trouble on the opening loop of stages with broken steering on his Citroen C3 R5 prematurely ending his Friday.

WRC2 Skoda factory driver Ole Christian Veiby was another big-name casualty on Friday, sliding his Fabia R5 off the road on the penultimate stage of the day.

For the second successive year, the Ypres Rally played host to a round of the British Rally Championship, with Keith Cronin leading until the last stage of the rally.

Cronin lost over a minute on the last stage with a puncture and fell to third, handing victory to M-Sport works driver Matt Edwards and second place to David Bogie.

The BRC section featured a catalogue of dramas including Martin McCormack crashing his Skoda Fabia R5 out of second in class on the final leg.

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