Neuville claims 10th WRC victory in Corsica
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Neuville claims 10th WRC victory in Corsica


Thierry Neuville (Hyundai/Michelin) scored the 10th WRC victory of his career and his second in Corsica at world championship level after Elfyn Evans (Ford/Michelin) was cruelly toppled from the lead on the final stage. Second place ended up in the hands of Sébastien Ogier (Citroën/Michelin), ahead of the heartbroken Welshman.

In years to come, the 2019 Tour de Corse will be remembered as the one Evans and his Ford Fiesta RS WRC/Michelin came agonisingly close to winning. Indeed, the Welshman hit the ground running to win Friday’s SS1, but then lost first place a first time on SS6 when he was delayed by a slower-running competitor. The stewards later decided to reinstate his lead, however.

Saturday’s action produced a thrilling battle between Evans and Toyota/Michelin’s Ott Tänak and the pair traded top spot several times until the Estonian lost two minutes on SS11. That put the Welshman briefly back in front again before he was passed by a charging Neuville on Leg 2’s last stage.

Evans returned to the top of the leaderboard once on Sunday morning thanks to a stunning effort on SS13 but was delayed again on the rally’s ultimate test after breaking his Ford’s front-right wheel. He nonetheless ended up third.

Neuville went on to secure his 10th world class victory, relatively comfortably clear of Ogier who rarely looked comfortable on his home round of the WRC in his Citroën C3 WRC.

The top five was rounded out by Dani Sordo (Hyundai/Michelin) and Teemu Suninen (Ford/Michelin), while Toyota Gazoo Racing – despite winning six of the event’s 14 stages – had to settled for sixth, ninth and tenth places after a tough week on the Mediterranean island for Tänak, Kris Meeke and Jari-Matti Latvala.

The Tour de Corse featured a variety of stages, including some circuit-like portions in the south, and narrower, twister roads to the north. The longest test of the week was Castagniccia (47.18km) which packed a bit of everything, including some dirt even, but the hard-compound Michelin Pilot Sport H5 rose to the challenge impeccably to provide yet another illustration of its performance, strength and longevity.

Although Michelin drivers claimed 11 of the 13 stages contested by the WRC2 runners, victory in the class went to Italy’s Fabio Andolfi (Skoda), ahead of Nicolay Gryazin (+3.9s, Skoda/Michelin). Eric Camilli’s assertive drive (10 stage wins) ended when his VW Polo GTi R5/Michelin was consumed by flames on SS12.

The WRC will now cross the Atlantic once again for the next round in Argentina on April 26-28.

2019 Tour de Corse – Final classification:

1. Neuville/Gilsoul (Hyundai i20 Coupé WRC/Michelin), 3h22m59.0s

2. Ogier/Ingrassia (Citroën C3 WRC/Michelin), +40.3s

3. Evans/Martin (Ford Fiesta RS WRC/Michelin), +1m6.6s

4. Sordo/Del Barrio (Hyundai i20 Coupé WRC/Michelin), +1m18.4s

5. Suninen/Salminen (Ford Fiesta RS WRC/Michelin), +1m24.6s

6. Tänak/Järveoja (Toyota Yaris WRC/Michelin), +1m40.0s

7. Lappi/Ferm (Citroën C3 WRC/Michelin), +2m9.1s

8. Loeb/Elena (Hyundai i20 Coupé WRC/Michelin), +3m39.2s

9. Meeke/Marshall (Toyota Yaris WRC/Michelin), +5m6.3s

10. Latvala/Anttila (Toyota Yaris WRC/Michelin), +6m44.6s