Evans hits trouble as Neuville extends lead

Neuville grew his lead, Rovanperä closed in on second place and Evans lost fourth, and power

Elfyn Evans

Thierry Neuville extended his Acropolis Rally Greece lead on the final stage of Saturday morning, as Elfyn Evans hit trouble.

Evans came into the Eleftherohori stage in fourth place, 16.9 seconds away from a podium position and 42.1s behind Hyundai’s Neuville.

Those gaps were on course to grow by a few seconds before Evans came to a brief stop and had to complete the final miles of SS9 running on electric power only due to high temperatures in the engine bay of his Toyota GR Yaris Rally1.

He ended up finishing the stage 1m13.8s slower than stage-winning team-mate Kalle Rovanperä, with Neuville 1.5s off the benchmark time and claiming the roads were so rough that the second pass of the stage this afternoon would not be possible.

But he had no reason to complain, as he added 8.9s to his lead over Toyota’s Sébastien Ogier to head into the next loop with 10.9s in hand.

Rovanperä is now 23.7s off the rally lead, and Hyundai’s Dani Sordo has risen to fourth place courtesy of Evans’ struggles. The Welshman stopped after the stage to attempt repairs to his car, and is understood to be back on his way to service.

There was drama in WRC2 as second-placed Marco Bulacia stopped mid-stage and Robert Virves’ front-left wheel broke towards the finish, while Gus Greensmith went fastest to close in on Rally2 leader Yohan Rossel. There is 7.6s between the two, with Sami Pajari now back in a podium position after he had a puncture earlier in the day.