WRC Hyundai's Thierry Neuville fastest in tense Polish shakedown
ORLEN 74TH RALLY POLAND, June 29-July 2, 2017
2017 FIA World Rally Championship, round 8
For immediate release
Thursday, June 29th, 2017
HYUNDAI’S THEIRRY NEUVILLE FASTEST IN TENSE POLISH SHAKEDOWN
· Tanak, Paddon and Ogier round off top four; Citroëns off the pace in Poland
MIKOLAJKI (Poland): Thierry Neuville and Hyundai Motorsport emerged quickest from the 4.9km Sady Shakedown stage that traditionally precedes the start of Orlen 74th Rally Poland, round eight of the FIA World Rally Championship, on Thursday morning.
The Belgian carded a time of 2min 12.1sec on his third run in an i20 Coupe WRC to pip M-Sport’s Ott Tanak and Kiwi team-mate Haydon Paddon to the fastest time. Defending World Champion Sébastien Ogier was fourth.
There had been a storm and heavy overnight rain in the Masurian Lake District and further showers were expected during the morning and into the early afternoon. Neuville was the fastest of the leading group on the first soggy and muddy run through the Sady special in a time of 2min 15.3sec. The Belgian was 0.6sec faster than Tanak. Latvala was third.
Sordi’s second run of 2min 15.9sec moved him in front of both Ogier and Latvala into third position, but none of the other leading group could better their first times until Tanak edged into the lead by one tenth of a second.
The Citroën C3s were woefully off the pace, with Craig Breen and Sébastien Lefebvre running around six seconds behind the leaders and Andreas Mikkelsen in trouble with his own issues at the rear of the group.
Teemu Suninen was in superb form on his third run and the young Finn moved up to fourth overall behind Tanak – who improved with a time of 2min 12.3sec - Latvala and a resurgent Paddon, who carded a time of 2min 13.7sec. Ogier was not to be denied and the Frenchman leapt into second position on his third run with a time of 2min 13.1sec, only to be denied yet again on an improving surface by Neuville’s time of 2min 12.1sec.Only 1.6 seconds separated the leading six drivers.
Paddon shaved a second off his best time to move into third position at the expense of Ogier, although one second separated the top four drivers, with M-Sport Ford and Hyundai at the head of the field. The three Citroëns remained detached at the rear of the pack.
The three Toyotas left it late to take their third runs. Even though Latvala improved by 0.2 seconds, he remained in fifth position. Ogier went back on to the stage at the end of the session for a fourth run in the Ford but was unable to match his earlier time.
Mikkelsen improved a little on his third run in the C3 but it was left to Breen to try and make in-roads into their rivals’ times. The Irishman was slower still and Lefebvre and Mikkelsen wrapped up a worrying session for the French team with Mikkelsen topping the team’s times with the C3 upgrades in a time of 2min 15.2sec on the fourth of five runs in the revised car.
ORLEN 74th Rally Poland – Shakedown times
1. Thierry Neuville (BEL)/Nicolas Gilsoul (BEL) Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC 2min 12.1sec
2. Ott Tanak (EST)/Martin Jarveoja (EST) Ford Fiesta WRC 2min 12.3sec
3. Hayden Paddon (NZL)/Sebastien Marshall (GBR) Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC 2min 12.7sec
4. Sébastien Ogier (FRA)/Julien Ingrassia (FRA) Ford Fiesta WRC 2min 13.1sec
5. Jari-Matti Latvala (FIN)/Miikka Anttila (FIN) Toyota Yaris WRC 2min 13.3sec
6. Dani Sordo (ESP)/Marc Marti (ESP) Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC 2min 13.8sec
7. Esapekka Lappi (FIN)/Janne Ferm (FIN) Toyota Yaris WRC 2min 14.2sec
8. Mads Østberg (NOR)/Ola Floene (NOR) Ford Fiesta WRC 2min 14.5sec
9. Juha Hänninen (FIN)/Kaj Lindström (FIN) Toyota Yaris WRC 2min 14.7sec
10. Andreas Mikkelsen (NOR)/Anders Jaeger (NOR) Citroën C3 WRC 2min 15.2sec
10. Teemu Suninen (FIN)/Mikko Markkula (FIN) Ford Fiesta WRC 2min 15.2sec
12. Elfyn Evans (GBR)/Daniel Barritt (GBR) Ford Fiesta WRC 2min 15.3sec
13. Stéphane Lefebvre (FRA)/Gabin Moreau (FRA) Citroën C3 WRC 2min 16.0sec
14. Craig Breen (IRL)/Scott Martin (GBR) Citroën C3 WRC 2min 16.6sec