Neuville fastest on powerstage dress rehearsal

Ahead of the Sassari powerstage later on, it's Thierry Neuville who topped the leaderboard on the first pass


Thierry Neuville clocked the fastest time on the first pass of Rally Italy’s Sassari test, which will run later on Sunday as the powerstage that awards World Rally Championship bonus points.

Sassari is a stage with good memories for Neuville, famously defeating reigning champion Sébastien Ogier in a final-stage battle by 0.7s on the 2018 edition of the rally.

After cruising through the first Sunday test he pushed harder on Sassari to get a feel for the roads that will award five bonus championship points for the fastest driver – discovering the conditions are likely to be much rougher than previous years.

“I tried but it’s so loose in there compared to previous years. It’s much worse,” concluded Neuville.

“It’s going to be tough for the powerstage but we’re going to try anyhow and see if we can take some points home from a difficult weekend.”


Ott Tänak upped his advantage in the overall classification to 56.9s with the fourth-fastest time.

Craig Breen’s second place looks close to secured, going 0.3s faster than Dani Sordo despite driving at “five or six tenths”.

Any suggestion that there could be a last-minute push from Sordo for second place was swiftly dismissed by the man himself, who is paying more attention to Pierre-Louis Loubet behind him in fourth despite an advantage over half a minute big.

“I drive slow,” said Sordo. “First pass through the stages was nothing to do.

“For us the the most important is control Loubet because Breen was faster yesterday. We don’t want to take any risk, and just try to bring the car home and take manufacturers’ points.”

SS19 Results

  1. Thierry Neuville/Martijn Wydaeghe (Hyundai) 5m07.9s
  2. Elfyn Evans/Scott Martin (Toyota) +2.4s
  3. Esapekka Lappi/Janne Ferm (Toyota) +3.7s
  4. Takamoto Katsuta/Aaron Johnston (Toyota) +7.9s
  5. Ott Tänak/Martin Järveoja (Hyundai) +8.0s
  6. Gus Greensmith/Jonas Andersson (M-Sport Ford) +14.5s
  7. Craig Breen/Paul Nagle (M-Sport Ford) +15.2s
  8. Dani Sordo/Cándido Carrera (Hyundai) +15.5s
  9. Pierre-Louis Loubet/Vincent Landais (M-Sport Ford) +19.2s
  10. Kalle Rovanperä/Jonne Halttunen (Toyota) +20.5s

Leading positions after SS19

  1. Ott Tänak/Martin Järveoja (Hyundai) 2h57m21.7
  2. Craig Breen/Paul Nagle (M-Sport Ford) +56.9s
  3. Dani Sordo/Cándido Carrera (Hyundai) +1m21.2s
  4. Pierre-Louis Loubet/Vincent Landais (M-Sport Ford) +1m57.6s
  5. Kalle Rovanperä/Jonne Halttunen (Toyota) +2m55.00s
  6. Takamoto Katsuta/Aaron Johnston (Toyota) +4m04.00s
  7. Gus Greensmith/Jonas Andersson (M-Sport Ford) +5m21.6s
  8. Nikolay Gryazin/ Konstantin Aleksandrov (Škoda) +7m03.7s
  9. Jan Solans /Rodrigo Sanjuan (Citroën) +7m32.5s
  10. Jari Huttunen/ Mikko Lukka (M-Sport Ford) +7m48.8s