Top 15 results from Rally Sweden

Thierry Neuville has taken his first victory at Rally Sweden after seeing off a spirited charge from Craig Breen as defending World Rally Champion Sebastien Ogier causes controversy on the Power Stage.

After wrestling the overall lead from Toyota’s Ott Tanak at the start of the Friday morning stages, the Hyundai driver produced a measured display to keep clear of Breen’s attacks to clinch a maiden win in Sweden.

Neuville negotiated a faulty gearing issue plus a spin on SS11 to secure redemption 12 months on from effectively throwing away victory at Rally Sweden when he crashed out of Saturday’s final sprint stage while leading.

With Neuville taking his seventh career WRC event win Breen held on to record his best-ever WRC result with second place and his second career podium following his third place at Rally Finland in 2016. Neuville has also taken the WRC points lead after the opening two rounds with a nine-point advantage over Ogier.

2018 WRC season opener winner Ogier endured a frustrating Rally Sweden as road sweeper for the opening two legs of the event which saw him stuck down in a lowly 10th place heading into the Power Stage.

Despite not reporting any problems with his M-Sport Ford, Ogier missed his Power Stage start time reportedly to give him a better running position for the final stage to target maximum bonus points. Ogier started last of the top-class runners but missed out on the Power Stage victory in second place 1.3s behind Toyota’s Esapekka Lappi.

With Ogier’s heavy time penalty for his late Power Stage start he dropped behind M-Sport Ford teammate Elfyn Evans and into 11th place in the overall classification.

Andreas Mikkelsen claimed third place on the Power Stage to confirm his spot on the final step on the podium for Hyundai while Toyota’s Lappi’s final stage win, coupled with an off for Hayden Paddon, saw the Finnish driver jump up to fourth place.

With Paddon in fifth place, Mads Ostberg claimed a distant sixth place for Citroen ahead of last year’s Rally Sweden winner Jari-Matti Latvala. Teemu Suninen lead the M-Sport Ford charge in eighth place with Tanak and Ogier rounding out the top ten.

Citroen’s Kris Meeke was the only major name to fail to finish after retiring on SS13 due to damage sustained in a crash.

In WRC2 Takamoto Katsuta took victory for Ford by just 4.5s from local star Pontus Tidemand for Skoda.