Neuville wins as Latvala throws away second
WRC Rally Australia

Neuville wins as Latvala throws away second

19/11/2017

Thierry Neuville won the final round of the 2017 World Rally Championship as his closest challenger, Jari-Matti Latvala, crashed out of second place on Rally Australia's Power Stage.

Neuville beat Ott Tanak, who jumped into second place after Latvala's error, by 22.5 seconds to claim his fourth victory of the season.

Neuville's team-mate Andreas Mikkelsen led the rally overnight on Friday in only his third outing with the team, winning five of the opening six stages.

However, Mikkelsen's chances of repeating his 2016 victory at this event evaporated when his i20 suffered a double puncture on the second stage of the Saturday morning loop.

He only carried one spare tyre and the Norwegian was forced to retire, promoting Neuville into the lead of the rally.

The Belgian fended off his main challenger Latvala for the remainder of the rally, which included being 32.2s off the pace on Bucca - Sunday morning's second stage and left Neuville just 9.9s clear of Latvala.

Crucially, Neuville responded with the fastest time on the next stage, bolstering his lead by a further 4.8s after what he labelled as a "clever" drive in damp conditions. The penultimate stage of the day was cancelled because of the bad weather.

This left the Power Stage as the sole test following the Sunday service break, and in a heartbreaking twist, Latvala clipped the inside of a long left-hander and flew into a tree, instantly ending his rally and handing second place to Tanak on his M-Sport swansong.

Rally Australia will be one Citroen would rather forget with all three cars hitting major trouble.

Kris Meeke ran as high as second on Friday but broke his right-rear suspension when he hit a bridge on SS12, he retired but rejoined under Rally2 for Sunday along with Mikkelsen and the sole WRC2 entry of Kalle Rovanpera.

Craig Breen had been set for fourth place before he rolled his Citroen C3 into retirement in dramatic fashion on SS18.

The third Citroen of Stephane Lefebvre clipped a tree and retired on the stage prior to Breen's roll.

With Latvala, Meeke and Breen hitting trouble, Hayden Paddon seized the final place on the podium, which marks only his second top-three of 2017.

Sebastien Ogier, who sealed his fifth WRC crown last time out in Wales, finished the rally in a distant fourth position but pipped his departing M-Sport team-mate Tanak to maximum points on the powerstage.

His rally was riddled with gearbox issues, a one-minute time penalty for arriving at a stage too early, and a general lack of rhythm or speed in his Fiesta.

Rally GB winner Elfyn Evans finished the rally in fifth position. He bemoaned the "horrendously bad" grip on his DMACKs all weekend but avoided any major dramas to secure 10 points in what is expected to be his final rally with the tyre manufacturer.

Esapekka Lappi suffered a three-minute delay on the opening day due to a power steering issue and failed to recover the lost ground, ending the rally in sixth place ahead of the recovering Kris Meeke.

Both drivers picked up Power Stage points with Lappi third and Meeke fifth fastest, separated by early rally leader Mikkelsen.

Related news

Lewis Hamilton pips Valtteri Bottas to pole at Paul Ricard, Sebastian Vettel third

Lewis Hamilton pips Valtteri Bottas to pole at Paul Ricard, Sebastian Vettel third

Lewis Hamilton took pole position at the French Grand Prix as Mercedes eased to a front-row lockout in qualifying at the Circuit Paul Ricard.

Valtteri Bottas fastest in FP3 washout

Valtteri Bottas fastest in FP3 washout

Mercedes Formula 1 driver Valtteri Bottas set the pace in final practice for the French Grand Prix, which was mostly devoid of action after unexpected rain.

Lewis Hamilton dominates second French Grand Prix practice

Lewis Hamilton dominates second French Grand Prix practice

Lewis Hamilton kept Mercedes top of the order in second practice for the French Grand Prix with 0.7s in hand over the next quickest car.

Hamilton tops session halted by Ericsson crash

Hamilton tops session halted by Ericsson crash

Lewis Hamilton set the pace in first practice for Formula 1's returning French Grand Prix, as the opening session was ended early by a fiery crash for Marcus Ericsson.

Fernando Alonso's Toyota wins Le Mans 24 Hours after dominant display

Fernando Alonso's Toyota wins Le Mans 24 Hours after dominant display

Toyota Gazoo Racing secured a dominant one-two at the prestigious Le Mans 24 Hours on Sunday.

Lorenzo dominates to take second Ducati win

Lorenzo dominates to take second Ducati win

Ducati rider Jorge Lorenzo scored his second consecutive MotoGP win, converting pole position at Barcelona into a dominant triumph after a short battle with Marc Marquez.

Lorenzo on pole for Ducati at home Catalunya MotoGP

Lorenzo on pole for Ducati at home Catalunya MotoGP

Jorge Lorenzo claimed his first MotoGP pole position for Ducati in qualifying for the Catalan Grand Prix in Barcelona.

Sebastian Vettel reclaims championship lead with dominant Canada win

Sebastian Vettel reclaims championship lead with dominant Canada win

Sebastian Vettel retook the lead of the drivers' championship after winning the Canadian Grand Prix ahead of Valtteri Bottas and Max Verstappen.

Neuville beats Ogier by a fraction of a second in Sardinia

Neuville beats Ogier by a fraction of a second in Sardinia

Hyundai's Thierry Neuville overhauled World Rally Championship rival Sebastien Ogier on the last stage in a dramatic conclusion to win Rally Italy by just 0.7 seconds.

RELATED NEWS

Lewis Hamilton pips Valtteri Bottas to pole at Paul Ricard, Sebastian Vettel third
French Grand Prix - Qualifying

Lewis Hamilton pips Valtteri Bottas to pole at Paul Ricard, Sebastian Vettel third

Lewis Hamilton took pole position at the French Grand Prix as Mercedes eased to a front-row lockout in qualifying at the Circuit Paul Ricard.

Valtteri Bottas fastest in FP3 washout
French Grand Prix - FP3

Valtteri Bottas fastest in FP3 washout

Mercedes Formula 1 driver Valtteri Bottas set the pace in final practice for the French Grand Prix, which was mostly devoid of action after unexpected rain.

Lewis Hamilton dominates second French Grand Prix practice
French Grand Prix - FP2

Lewis Hamilton dominates second French Grand Prix practice

Lewis Hamilton kept Mercedes top of the order in second practice for the French Grand Prix with 0.7s in hand over the next quickest car.

Hamilton tops session halted by Ericsson crash
French Grand Prix - FP1

Hamilton tops session halted by Ericsson crash

Lewis Hamilton set the pace in first practice for Formula 1's returning French Grand Prix, as the opening session was ended early by a fiery crash for Marcus Ericsson.

Fernando Alonso's Toyota wins Le Mans 24 Hours after dominant display
Le Mans 24 Hours

Fernando Alonso's Toyota wins Le Mans 24 Hours after dominant display

Toyota Gazoo Racing secured a dominant one-two at the prestigious Le Mans 24 Hours on Sunday.

Lorenzo dominates to take second Ducati win
MotoGP - Catalunya Grand Prix

Lorenzo dominates to take second Ducati win

Ducati rider Jorge Lorenzo scored his second consecutive MotoGP win, converting pole position at Barcelona into a dominant triumph after a short battle with Marc Marquez.

Lorenzo on pole for Ducati at home Catalunya MotoGP
MotoGP - Catalunya Grand Prix - Qualifying

Lorenzo on pole for Ducati at home Catalunya MotoGP

Jorge Lorenzo claimed his first MotoGP pole position for Ducati in qualifying for the Catalan Grand Prix in Barcelona.

Sebastian Vettel reclaims championship lead with dominant Canada win
Canadian Grand Prix

Sebastian Vettel reclaims championship lead with dominant Canada win

Sebastian Vettel retook the lead of the drivers' championship after winning the Canadian Grand Prix ahead of Valtteri Bottas and Max Verstappen.

Neuville beats Ogier by a fraction of a second in Sardinia
WRC Rally Italy

Neuville beats Ogier by a fraction of a second in Sardinia

Hyundai's Thierry Neuville overhauled World Rally Championship rival Sebastien Ogier on the last stage in a dramatic conclusion to win Rally Italy by just 0.7 seconds.