Breen responds to Tänak on penultimate stage

He's reduced Tänak's lead to 8.6 seconds


Craig Breen has taken time back from Ott Tänak but Tänak still leads ahead of the powerstage as Thierry Neuville all but secured third place on Rally Sweden.

Tänak led Breen by 8.6 seconds at the start of Sunday but bumped that up to 11.6s on the day’s first stage.

After a short service, crews have gone back out to attack the Västervik test but this time the tables were turned as Breen nibbled 3.1s out of Tänak’s advantage.

But with just one stage to go, Tänak leads the rally by 8.5s.

“I’m about three hours too late unfortunately,” Breen rued.

Tänak added: “It should be OK, it should be OK. It’s a tricky enough stage [the powerstage] but feels OK at the moment.”

Kalle Rovanperä had nicked 2.7s from Neuville on the first pass of Västervik to trail the final podium place by just 1.1s.


But Neuville replied emphatically on the second pass to destroy Rovanperä by six seconds, taking a 7.1s advantage onto the powerstage.

Unsurprisingly, that sublime effort was enough to win the stage.

“We need to stay without mistakes and have a clean run through the powerstage,” said Neuville.

“To be honest I had a quite good stage, I just feel on second pass conditions I cannot be so fast,” Rovanperä said. “It’s a shame, seems we don’t have the pace that is needed.”

Pierre-Louis Loubet bounced off a couple of snowbanks through a junction on the stage, but otherwise remains safe in sixth overall.

“I was quite careful,” he said. “Nothing to play [for] so we were a bit careful but in a junction the car goes out of the ruts, I was a bit wide and I lost two or three seconds but nothing [major].”

Elfyn Evans is 2m07.0s up the road in fifth.

Words:Luke Barry