For the second stage in succession, nothing could separate Hyundai team-mates Ott Tänak and Thierry Neuville as they shared the fastest stage time on the second Sunday morning stage of Rally Estonia.
Tänak – running first on the road – and third-placed Neuville shared the stage win on Sunday’s opener, and on SS20 they did exactly the same thing, both setting a time of 6m00.2s.
The Elva stage was short and sweet but featured some distinct characteristic changes, including a brief voyage onto an asphalt rallycross track at the end.
Sébastien Ogier broke the symmetry from the first morning stage however by going fourth fastest, but this time was 1.8s slower than the pace instead of just 0.2s. Rally leader Kalle Rovanperä was 0.6s faster than his World Rally Championship-leading team-mate.
Ogier is fourth, 19.9s behind Neuville, with the Hyundai driver making slow, but largely insignificant, advances on his team-mate Craig Breen up in second.
“We are keeping the speed, I feel comfortable at this speed and all is working fine so there’s no reason to slow down yet,” said Neuville.
Breen is very much looking to just “bring the car home” and trails leader Rovanperä by 54.4s.
Elfyn Evans was also on a relatively steady pace, looking after his tires, and he went sixth fastest on SS20 to maintain fifth place overall.
Teemu Suninen was 3.6s slower than Evans but 10.9s quicker than Pierre-Louis Loubet as the pair continue to hold sixth and seventh places.
Positions on the leaderboard remain stagnant on Sunday morning, but there will likely be added emphasis on the next test given it will also run as the powerstage later on Sunday afternoon.
Mads Østberg was again the quickest Rally2 car on the stage but it’s still Andreas Mikkelsen who leads, while a strong run from Marco Bulacia moved him back ahead of Adrien Fourmaux into third by 3.4s.
1= Thierry Neuville/Martijn Wydaeghe (Hyundai) 6m00.2s
1= Ott Tänak/Martin Järveoja (Hyundai) 6m00.2s
5 Kalle Rovanperä/Jonne Halttunen (Toyota) +1.2s
3 Sébastien Ogier/Julien Ingrassia (Toyota) +1.8s
6 Craig Breen/Paul Nagle (Hyundai) +4.4s
4 Elfyn Evans/Scott Martin (Toyota) +5.1s
Leading positions after SS20
1 Rovanperä/Halttunen 2h28m38.3s
2 Breen/Nagle +54.4s
3 Neuville/Wydaeghe +1m17.9s
4 Ogier/Ingrassia +1m37.8s
5 Evans/Martin +2m05.3s
6 Teemu Suninen/Mikko Markkula (M-Sport Ford) +6m30.5s
7 Pierre-Louis Loubet/Florian Haut-Labourdette (Hyundai) +8m03.8s
8 Alexey Lukyanuk/Yaroslav Fedorov (Škoda) +8m47.6s
9 Andreas Mikkelsen/Ola Fløene (Škoda) +9m45.9s
10 Mads Østberg/Torstein Eriksen (Citroën) +10m03s