Thierry Neuville has rocketed back into second place on Rally Turkey, destroying Sébastien Ogier’s time as rally leader Elfyn Evans suffered a harried run on SS10.
The 3.86-mile Marmaris affair was a much-needed, calmer affair after the palpable drama of the preceding 23.7 miles of Çetibeli.
The three major puncture victims on Çetibeli – Ogier, Neuville and Sébastien Loeb – all started Marmaris separated by just 5.5 seconds in second, third and fourth respectively, with just eight tenths between Ogier and former rally leader Neuville.
Neuville attacked the short Marmaris stage with a vengeance, going a whopping 4.5s quicker than second-fastest Loeb to move up into second place.
But he was still hurt by losing first on the previous encounter: “We’re going to try and push now and see what’s possible,” he said. “We tried our best, we were so careful in the stage.”
When asked what his thoughts were on the repeat pass of the 23.7-mile stage, Neuville replied: “Flat out.”
He will start that test 4s ahead of Ogier, with Loeb another 5.2s in arrears.
Evans escaped the drama of the previous test but had a fairly erratic affair on Marmaris, kicked off by confusion at the start line.
The rally leader warmed his tires up ready to start the stage as normal, but some miscommunication between co-driver Scott Martin and the start-line marshals meant Evans all of a sudden had to engage his Toyota into launch mode and fire into the stage, without the usual time to prepare.
A stall at a hairpin was then a minor distraction, but his lead was only diminished by 5.5s and stands at 42.2s with two stages remaining.
Kalle Rovanperä is settled in fifth place for Toyota, 48.7s ahead of Gus Greensmith (above) who is on course for a career-best result in sixth.
His M-Sport team-mate Esapekka Lappi is seventh, a further 44.3s back from Greensmith.
Ott Tänak’s intercom issue that developed on Sunday morning has not resolved itself between the stages, restricting the defending World Rally Champion to the slowest time of the Rally1 runners on Marmaris.
Tänak’s main aim now will be to claim the maximum number of bonus points on the repeat pass of Marmaris later on Sunday, as he is realistically too far away from the top 10 to score overall points following his retirement on Saturday.
1 Neuville (Hyundai) 4m25.5s
2 Loeb (Hyundai) +4.5s
3 Ogier (Toyota) +4.8s
4Rovanperä (Toyota) +4.9s
5 Evans (Toyota) +5.5s
6 Lappi (M-Sport Ford) +9s
Leading positions after SS10
1 Evans (Toyota) 2h10m49.3s
2 Neuville (Hyundai) +42.2s
3 Ogier (Toyota) +46.2s
4 Loeb (Hyundai) +51.4s
5 Rovanperä (Toyota) +2m11.5s
6 Greensmith (M-Sport Ford) +3m00.2s
7 Lappi (M-Sport Ford) +3m44.5s
8 Kajetanowicz (Škoda) +8m19.4s
9 Bulacia (Citroen) +9m04.3s
10 Tidemand (Škoda) +9m29.3s