Rallye de France: Neuville extends lead

Thierry Neuville remains on top in France post-SS10, now 13.1 seconds up on Jari-Matti Latvala; Dani Sordo has dropped to third, while Sebastien Loeb and Sebastien Ogier round out the top five.
Qatar World Rally Team driver Thierry Neuville increased his overnight lead on Rallye de France this morning and he now heads back for the mid-day service 13.1 seconds up on Jari-Matti Latvala.

Neuville began the leg with a 9.8 second advantage, and second quickest times in SS8 and SS9 saw him pull further ahead in his M-Sport-run Fiesta RS WRC car, adding another 6.8 seconds to his cushion.

The Belgian had a bit of a moment in the next stage, however, the 19.93 km Soultzeren-Pays Welche test, and was only fifth fastest - conceding 3.5 seconds to his closest rival.

“I'm quite happy with our pace this morning. We've been setting good stage times and extending our lead whilst continuing to check the pacenotes, so that was good,” Neuville stated. “We made a small mistake on the last stage [SS10] and lost a bit of time. I was surprised by the lack of grip under braking and I had to use the handbrake. Otherwise it has been another good loop of stages for us.

“It's something different to be first on the road, but it is going OK. We found a good rhythm straight away so it hasn't really been a big problem for us.”

Latvala meanwhile was third quickest in the opening two tests of the day and second in SS10 to ensure he remains in touch in his Volkswagen Polo R WRC and very much a threat.

“A big fight is going on. It [SS10] was a very good stage for me, at the end I made a couple of small mistakes attacking too hard. I had understeer in the slow corners, otherwise [it was] good. It should be an interesting battle this afternoon,” stated Latvala.

Citroen's Dani Sordo completes the provisional podium, having slipped behind Latvala in SS9. He now trails the Finn by 1.1 seconds: “The downhill [in the last test] was crazy. Thierry is very quick today...” said Sordo.

Sebastien Loeb is next up, 5.6 seconds further back. The Frenchman had a spin in Vallee de Munster 1 and lost around 10 seconds, but he immediately bounced back and took his 900th stage win in the following test: “I made a few mistakes this morning. This time [in SS10] it was okay. Setup is not so bad now, but I still miss confidence,” Loeb noted.

Related Pictures

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Thierry Neuville Nicolas Gilsoul (Ford Fiesta WRC #11, Qatar World Rally Team)
Thierry Neuville Nicolas Gilsoul (Ford Fiesta WRC #11, Qatar World Rally Team)
Thierry Neuville Nicolas Gilsoul (Ford Fiesta WRC #11, Qatar World Rally Team)

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