Neuville fastest but Evans holds him at bay

Hyundai driver looks poised to eat into gap to second-placed Toyota before Evans picks up his pace


Thierry Neuville has taken another stage win on Rally México it cut just 0.5 seconds out of second-placed Elfyn Evans’ advantage over him this time around.

Derramadero, run twice, is the longest stage of the day at 15.5 miles.

And Neuville started off strong compared to the man he’s chasing down for second, topping nearly all of the splits through the stage.

Evans began in a less than ideal way, dropping 2.1s to the Hyundai on the second split and admitting to being too cautious initially, but he managed to bring that gap down to 0.5s by the end.


For Neuville it’s now a case of keeping up the pace to try to hunt down his Toyota rival.

“The target is to go as fast as possible. We have to be clever as well and keep the car on the road,” he said.

“I tried to manage in here the speed because the first part is very tricky, the last part we know very well from previous years.

“It’s hard, it’s not easy to be honest, because the grip and conditions are changing all the time.

“I thought the time was not good enough, but it was not too bad.”

Meanwhile Sébastien Ogier still holds a very healthy lead gap of 27s and looks comfortable out in front.

Ott Tänak continues to run only to set times on the board after he dropped out of contention on Friday morning, though he has a shot at moving back towards the points just by keeping going.

But the M-Sport driver is still struggling with his Ford Puma Rally1, labeling it a “difficult” morning.

“We have been trying to learn a bit. It’s been a difficult morning and I would say the last stage was worse,” he said. “This one was a bit better but generally I struggled. Let’s see this afternoon.”

As has been the case so far, drivers continued to struggle for grip and the rough surface that México throws up.

Takamoto Katsuta – who returns to action today following Friday’s crash – complimented the Derramadero route but said it wasn’t so straightforward to tackle from his road position.

“It’s quite a nice stage, especially at the end,” he explained.

“It’s very high-speed and you can enjoy the road, but the grip is still quite low and it’s not so easy to drive.”

Words:Luke Barry