Neuville closes on Ogier's Rally Italy lead
WRC Rally Italy

Neuville closes on Ogier's Rally Italy lead

The charging Hyundai of Thierry Neuville cut his World Rally Championship rival Sebastien Ogier's Rally Italy lead down to only 1.3 seconds on Sunday morning, with just two stages remaining.

Ogier started the day with a slim 3.9s advantage but his advantage was eroded further by two stage wins for Neuville.

The second of those stages, Sassari-Argentiera, will be run later as the powerstage, and M-Sport Ford driver Ogier found himself "fighting" his Fiesta WRC through the sandier conditions on the test.

Esapekka Lappi remains in a safe third place, 50.3s behind Neuville ahead but with a 1m07.6s advantage over Hayden Paddon behind.

Lappi had been locked in a podium battle throughout Saturday with Toyota team-mate Jari-Matti Latvala until his retirement with suspected alternator issues, likely caused by rock damage.

Paddon holds a more secure fourth place, establishing an 11.2s gap over Mads Ostberg in fifth.

He had previously been only 2.1s in front after Saturday, but a safety-first approach from Ostberg allowed Paddon to pull away.

Ostberg is over a minute ahead of Citroen team-mate Craig Breen in sixth, who is the last factory WRC driver to have avoided major time loss or retirement this weekend, although he did spin on the Sassari-Argentiera stage.

Thanks to retiring after Saturday's stages were complete, Latvala's time penalty was relatively minimal, allowing him to resume in eighth place overall under Rally2 conditions.

He is now seventh, having leapfrogged WRC2 support class leader Jan Kopecky, demoting the Skoda factory driver to eighth place.

Ott Tanak is only 31.6s behind Kopecky in ninth place, while a trip into some bushes cost 10th placed Martin Prokop - in an older 2016-spec Fiesta RS WRC - almost a minute.

That allowed M-Sport's third driver, Teemu Suninen, to close in for a potential world championship point awarded for 10th, the pair now separated by 32.5s

Related news

F1 engine manufacturers will have to share tech with new entrants under new rules

F1 engine manufacturers will have to share tech with new entrants under new rules

Formula One is hoping to attract new engine manufacturers to the grid by introducing rules that require existing manufacturers to share technology with new entrants.

Sebastian Vettel fastest in Abu Dhabi test as Kimi Raikkonen returns to Sauber

Sebastian Vettel fastest in Abu Dhabi test as Kimi Raikkonen returns to Sauber

Sebastian Vettel set the fastest time on the first day of Abu Dhabi's post-season test, as his former Ferrari teammate Kimi Raikkonen completed his first day back at Sauber.

Hamilton caps off 2018 with easy win in Abu Dhabi

Hamilton caps off 2018 with easy win in Abu Dhabi

Lewis Hamilton won the final race of the Formula One season in Abu Dhabi, crowning his championship-winning 2018 campaign with an 11th victory from 21 races.

Lewis Hamilton beats Valtteri Bottas, Sebastian Vettel to pole for Abu Dhabi finale

Lewis Hamilton beats Valtteri Bottas, Sebastian Vettel to pole for Abu Dhabi finale

Lewis Hamilton will start from pole position at the final race of the 2018 season after securing the fastest qualifying time by 0.162s in Abu Dhabi.

Lewis Hamilton leads Kimi Raikkonen in final practice for Abu Dhabi Grand Prix

Lewis Hamilton leads Kimi Raikkonen in final practice for Abu Dhabi Grand Prix

Lewis Hamilton finished the final practice session for the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix at the top of the timesheets as Ferrari's Kimi Raikkonen emerged as his closest competitor.

Valtteri Bottas pips Max Verstappen by 0.044s to top second practice for the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix

Valtteri Bottas pips Max Verstappen by 0.044s to top second practice for the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix

Valtteri Bottas topped the second practice session for the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix as Mercedes and Red Bull battled each other for the fastest time under Yas Marina's floodlights.

Max Verstappen leads comfortable Red Bull one-two in first Abu Dhabi Grand Prix practice

Max Verstappen leads comfortable Red Bull one-two in first Abu Dhabi Grand Prix practice

Max Verstappen was comfortably quickest after the first practice session for the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, finishing the session 0.454s quicker than teammate Daniel Ricciardo.

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.

RELATED NEWS

F1 engine manufacturers will have to share tech with new entrants under new rules
F1 news

F1 engine manufacturers will have to share tech with new entrants under new rules

Formula One is hoping to attract new engine manufacturers to the grid by introducing rules that require existing manufacturers to share technology with new entrants.

Sebastian Vettel fastest in Abu Dhabi test as Kimi Raikkonen returns to Sauber
Abu Dhabi test

Sebastian Vettel fastest in Abu Dhabi test as Kimi Raikkonen returns to Sauber

Sebastian Vettel set the fastest time on the first day of Abu Dhabi's post-season test, as his former Ferrari teammate Kimi Raikkonen completed his first day back at Sauber.

Hamilton caps off 2018 with easy win in Abu Dhabi
Abu Dhabi Grand Prix

Hamilton caps off 2018 with easy win in Abu Dhabi

Lewis Hamilton won the final race of the Formula One season in Abu Dhabi, crowning his championship-winning 2018 campaign with an 11th victory from 21 races.

Lewis Hamilton beats Valtteri Bottas, Sebastian Vettel to pole for Abu Dhabi finale
Abu Dhabi Grand Prix - Qualifying

Lewis Hamilton beats Valtteri Bottas, Sebastian Vettel to pole for Abu Dhabi finale

Lewis Hamilton will start from pole position at the final race of the 2018 season after securing the fastest qualifying time by 0.162s in Abu Dhabi.

Lewis Hamilton leads Kimi Raikkonen in final practice for Abu Dhabi Grand Prix
Abu Dhabi Grand Prix - FP3

Lewis Hamilton leads Kimi Raikkonen in final practice for Abu Dhabi Grand Prix

Lewis Hamilton finished the final practice session for the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix at the top of the timesheets as Ferrari's Kimi Raikkonen emerged as his closest competitor.

Valtteri Bottas pips Max Verstappen by 0.044s to top second practice for the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix
Abu Dhabi Grand Prix - FP2

Valtteri Bottas pips Max Verstappen by 0.044s to top second practice for the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix

Valtteri Bottas topped the second practice session for the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix as Mercedes and Red Bull battled each other for the fastest time under Yas Marina's floodlights.

Max Verstappen leads comfortable Red Bull one-two in first Abu Dhabi Grand Prix practice
Abu Dhabi Grand Prix - FP1

Max Verstappen leads comfortable Red Bull one-two in first Abu Dhabi Grand Prix practice

Max Verstappen was comfortably quickest after the first practice session for the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, finishing the session 0.454s quicker than teammate Daniel Ricciardo.

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.