Neuville crashes out of Croatia Rally lead

He hit a rock midway through SS11


Thierry Neuville has crashed out of the lead on Croatia Rally after hitting a rock midway through SS11.

Neuville had been leading ever since SS2, and heading into the third stage of Saturday morning was over 10 seconds ahead of Elfyn Evans.

But around 3.1 miles into the stage he suffered from oversteer, clouting a rock and damaging the car, forcing him out of the rally.

That promotes Evans into the lead.

Despite briefly taking third from Tänak on Friday afternoon, Esapekka Lappi hasn’t been able to repeat the same feat on Saturday morning, but Neuville’s crash has promoted him into the top-three.

The Hyundai driver has been struggling for confidence so far this morning.

“I have zero confidence. It’s been a tough morning,” he explained. “I don’t know what’s wrong, but the confidence is not there. Maybe I slept bad!”


The 6.29-mile Ravna Gora – Skrad test proved to be a challenge as the surface was very loose with bits of loose gravel strewn across the road.

Pierre-Louis Loubet struggled through the tough surface on the stage, losing time at each passing split as he admitted he played it too cautious.

“I was too careful,” he said. “I thought the conditions would be worse and I didn’t take the risks.”

That allowed Takamoto Katsuta to halve the gap between himself and the now fourth-placed M-Sport driver ahead, bringing Loubet’s advantage down to just 3.3s.

However, it wasn’t all straightforward for Katsuta, who said the stage was “very tricky”.


“In some sections there was a lot of mud and dirt coming from the inside,” he explained.

“For sure, it’s getting worse and worse and it’s very tricky. We are here but it’s going to be messy.”

The Toyota driver will soon have the company of Sébastien Ogier who has been making up time following his one-minute penalty and is now just 9.8s behind team-mate Katsuta.

It’s becoming a bit of a Toyota battle at the back of the field as Kalle Rovanperä continued to take advantage of starting first on the road.

Yet another stage win put him 2.6s behind Ogier, that gives him three stage wins out of three on Saturday morning, with one more left of the day’s first loop.