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.

Neuville and co-driver Nicolas Gilsoul began Sunday's stages 3.9s behind their rival but won all four of the day's tests to eclipse Ogier, in what was the equal third closest finish in WRC history.

The result extends Neuville's championship lead to 27 points over Ogier, with the Belgian securing a maximum score after also winning the powerstage.

Neuville and Toyota's Jari-Matti Latvala are the only two drivers to take a maximum score since the introduction of the new WRC rules for 2017.

Neuville also managed the feat on last year's Rally Argentina, which he also won by 0.7s. Ogier had been leading the rally since Friday afternoon, holding a lead of 19s after the opening day.

The world champion saw that gap eroded on Saturday however when a cautious run through the first pass of Monte Lerno and a stall on a short superspecial stage eroded his advantage.

The M-Sport driver was powerless to stop Neuville taking his ninth career win on Sunday, not being helped by a late scare with his time card where he initially left the stop line of the penultimate stage without it.

Toyota's Ott Tanak finshed that stage after Ogier, and picked up the time card to deliver it to the crew at the regroup before the powerstage.

Esapekka Lappi took his first podium of the year with third place for Toyota, a result the Finn felt he deserved after showing the pace to do so earlier in the year.

Lappi had been battling team-mate Latvala for the position, but Lappi's run to third became a lot easier when Latvala was forced to retire on the road section back to service with alternator issues on Saturday night.

Hayden Paddon finished fourth for Hyundai on just his third rally of the year, edging out a close fight with Citroen's Mads Ostberg by 15.7s.

Craig Breen was a distant sixth after enduring a difficult weekend that began with handbrake issues on Friday.

The Irishman struggled to match the pace at the front thereafter. Latvala restarted on Sunday and headed a bunch of drivers starting under the Rally2 regulations to take seventh overall.

Tanak recovered to eighth, retiring from Friday's final stage with damage after a heavy landing over a jump.

Related news

Dovizioso triumphs in wild rain-hit finale

Dovizioso triumphs in wild rain-hit finale

Ducati MotoGP rider Andrea Dovizioso emerged victorious in a stop-start, attrition-heavy 2018 MotoGP season finale at a wet Circuit Ricardo Tormo in Valencia.

Latvala wins in Australia, WRC title for Ogier

Latvala wins in Australia, WRC title for Ogier

Toyota driver Jari-Matti Latvala won Rally Australia, while crashes for Thierry Neuville and Ott Tanak helped seal a sixth World Rally Championship title for M-Sport Ford's Sebastien Ogier.

Neuville retires, Ogier or Tanak for WRC title

Neuville retires, Ogier or Tanak for WRC title

Hyundai driver Thierry Neuville is officially out of the running for the World Rally Championship drivers' title, after crashing out of the first stage of the final loop.

Ogier in driving seat as Neuville's Australia woes continue

Ogier in driving seat as Neuville's Australia woes continue

Sebastien Ogier was in pole position to take a sixth consecutive world rally championship title after finishing the second day of Rally Australia with a lead of more than 50 seconds over his main challenger Thierry Neuville on Saturday.

Advantage Ogier as Neuville suffers double blow

Advantage Ogier as Neuville suffers double blow

Belgian Thierry Neuville's hopes of winning a maiden world title at Rally Australia this weekend suffered a hammer blow after a calamitous sixth stage on the opening day, when he damaged his car landing from a jump and then stalled in a chicane.

Vinales scores pole for MotoGP finale

Vinales scores pole for MotoGP finale

Yamaha MotoGP rider Maverick Vinales fought through Q1 to take pole position in a scintillating final qualifying session of the 2018 season in Valencia.

Hamilton wins in Brazil after Verstappen punted out of lead

Hamilton wins in Brazil after Verstappen punted out of lead

Lewis Hamilton won an action-packed Brazilian Grand Prix after Max Verstappen crashed out of the lead following a collision with a lapped backmarker.

Hamilton takes pole in Brazil as Vettel escapes penalty

Hamilton takes pole in Brazil as Vettel escapes penalty

Newly-crowned champion Lewis Hamilton beat Sebastian Vettel to pole position by 0.093s in a tight qualifying session for the Brazilian Grand Prix.

Vettel beats Hamilton to fastest time in final practice in Brazil

Vettel beats Hamilton to fastest time in final practice in Brazil

Sebastian Vettel outpaced Lewis Hamilton to top the final practice session ahead of qualifying for the Brazilian Grand Prix with a new track record.

RELATED NEWS

Dovizioso triumphs in wild rain-hit finale
Valencia Grand Prix

Dovizioso triumphs in wild rain-hit finale

Ducati MotoGP rider Andrea Dovizioso emerged victorious in a stop-start, attrition-heavy 2018 MotoGP season finale at a wet Circuit Ricardo Tormo in Valencia.

Latvala wins in Australia, WRC title for Ogier
Rally Australia

Latvala wins in Australia, WRC title for Ogier

Toyota driver Jari-Matti Latvala won Rally Australia, while crashes for Thierry Neuville and Ott Tanak helped seal a sixth World Rally Championship title for M-Sport Ford's Sebastien Ogier.

Neuville retires, Ogier or Tanak for WRC title
Rally Australia

Neuville retires, Ogier or Tanak for WRC title

Hyundai driver Thierry Neuville is officially out of the running for the World Rally Championship drivers' title, after crashing out of the first stage of the final loop.

Ogier in driving seat as Neuville's Australia woes continue
Rally Australia

Ogier in driving seat as Neuville's Australia woes continue

Sebastien Ogier was in pole position to take a sixth consecutive world rally championship title after finishing the second day of Rally Australia with a lead of more than 50 seconds over his main challenger Thierry Neuville on Saturday.

Advantage Ogier as Neuville suffers double blow
Rally Australia

Advantage Ogier as Neuville suffers double blow

Belgian Thierry Neuville's hopes of winning a maiden world title at Rally Australia this weekend suffered a hammer blow after a calamitous sixth stage on the opening day, when he damaged his car landing from a jump and then stalled in a chicane.

Vinales scores pole for MotoGP finale
Valencia Grand Prix - Qualifying

Vinales scores pole for MotoGP finale

Yamaha MotoGP rider Maverick Vinales fought through Q1 to take pole position in a scintillating final qualifying session of the 2018 season in Valencia.

Hamilton wins in Brazil after Verstappen punted out of lead
Brazilian Grand Prix

Hamilton wins in Brazil after Verstappen punted out of lead

Lewis Hamilton won an action-packed Brazilian Grand Prix after Max Verstappen crashed out of the lead following a collision with a lapped backmarker.

Hamilton takes pole in Brazil as Vettel escapes penalty
Brazilian Grand Prix - Qualifying

Hamilton takes pole in Brazil as Vettel escapes penalty

Newly-crowned champion Lewis Hamilton beat Sebastian Vettel to pole position by 0.093s in a tight qualifying session for the Brazilian Grand Prix.

Vettel beats Hamilton to fastest time in final practice in Brazil
Brazilian Grand Prix - FP3

Vettel beats Hamilton to fastest time in final practice in Brazil

Sebastian Vettel outpaced Lewis Hamilton to top the final practice session ahead of qualifying for the Brazilian Grand Prix with a new track record.