Day 2: Thierry and Nicolas lead Rally Poland by just 2.5s!
Things are heating up nicely in Rally Poland! All three of our crews are inside the top-five at the end of Saturday, with two holding provisional podiums. Best of all, our Belgians Thierry and Nicolas continue to lead the way.
The results alone dont tell the full story of a dramatic day. The lead of the rally has changed hands no fewer than four times between our #5 crew and M-Sports Ott Tanak.
Not so sweet sixteen
With three of the front-runners experiencing problems in SS16 (Pozezdrze), the afternoon loop proved a pivotal moment. Ultimately, Thierry and Nicolas ended Saturday with a 2.5-second advantage.
We picked up a rear left puncture in SS16, explained Thierry. Ott was suffering with his own issues so we had to use that opportunity to make up time. It also started to rain a lot on our final run, so we were unlucky. Thankfully, we were still able to retake the lead. It was an intense day!
Another driver to experience issues was Jari-Matti Latvala. His retirement after SS16 benefitted Hayden and Seb, who had enjoyed a strong Saturday. With three stage wins, taking our total for the weekend to ten so far, our Anglo-Kiwi crew head into the final day with a podium in sight.
We had better conditions today, and we could really set about getting down to business, said Hayden. I am sorry for Jari-Matti but at the same time I am happy to have the chance for a podium here. It would be an unexpected but very welcome result.
All to play for
Dani and Marc were involved in a close competition with Séb Ogier on Saturday. A late puncture in SS18 (Kruklanki) meant our Spaniards had to be content with fifth place, just 11 seconds from the M-Sport driver in fourth.
We were able to push flat out in some stages today, commented Dani. We were lucky our puncture was at the end of the stage, really. There is still everything to play for on the final day.
Four stages remain in Poland, run over a total distance of 59.66km. The brand new 11.15km Orzysz will be followed by the 18.68km Paprotki stage. The two tests will be repeated with Paprotki acting as the Power Stage with extra driver points available for the top-five.
Our Team Principal Michel is refusing to speculate on what might happen on Sunday. A double podium is now on the cards, which would be a fantastic result, he said. This one is too close and too unpredictable to call but its definitely exciting.
Overall Classification after Day Two
1 T. Neuville N. Gilsoul Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC 2:10:26.3
2 O. Tanak M. Jarveoja Ford Fiesta WRC +3.1
3 H. Paddon S. Marshall Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC +25.5
4 S. Ogier J. Ingrassia Ford Fiesta WRC +1:32.0
5 D. Sordo M. Martí Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC +1:43.8
6 T. Suninen M. Markkula Ford Fiesta WRC +2:06.2
7 S. Lefebvre G. Moreau Citroën C3 WRC +2:20.3
8 M. Østberg O. Floene Ford Fiesta WRC +2:45.8
9 E. Evans D. Barritt Ford Fiesta WRC +3:23.1
10 A. Mikkelsen A. Jaeger Citroën C3 WRC +3:34.6