Adrien Fourmaux has made significant inroads into Oliver Solberg’s fourth place while Elfyn Evans nicked a little bit of time from Ott Tänak in the fight to win Ypres Rally Belgium.
Fourmaux has started Sunday with intent, taking a handy chunk out of his deficit to Oliver Solberg – despite feeling unwell before SS17.
Fourmaux began the day 14.3s behind Solberg in fourth place – a final position that would mark both Fourmaux and Solberg’s career best in the WRC.
He has been faster than Solberg – who’s been instructed to just finish by his Hyundai team and even carried two spare wheels just for extra safety – throughout the event.
But Fourmaux finds himself behind after a 20s penalty, clocked for arriving to SS15 on Saturday late due to being stopped by the police.
With yesterday’s dramas now behind him, Fourmaux is simply focused on taking that position back.
“I had a really clean stage, it was really nice to drive the car – even better than yesterday,” he said. “I didn’t feel very well before the start but it didn’t disturb me at all, so really positive.”
Fourmaux felt the gap to Solberg is “quite big” but he beat the Hyundai by four seconds, trimming the overall gap to 10.3s.
“Clearly he’s pushing so he has a different objective to me,” commented Solberg.
“I’m just driving clean without any mistakes, maybe he’ll make some mistakes we’ll just wait.”
Just 8.2 seconds separated overnight leader Tänak and second-placed Evans, giving Tänak a healthy but not insurmountable advantage.
Evans was faster on SS17 to cut the deficit to 7.1s, but all is still in Tänak’s control.
“That’s the action plan, to protect it. At the moment we have an advantage of two seconds per stage, so one second is OK,” said Tänak.
Evans added: “Feeling pretty good, it was quite slippery at the start but otherwise things working OK.”
Esapekka Lappi remains a lonely third, with Takamoto Katsuta a similarly steady sixth behind the dueling Solberg and Fourmaux.
Craig Breen minorly overshot a square-right and ran wide onto the grass, but otherwise had a clean stage as he returned following his accident on Saturday as the first car on the road.
“We’re just trying to get back into some sort of a rhythm after yesterday, so all fine,” said Breen.
Kalle Rovanperä was a second quicker as the next car behind him but had taken a different tire strategy with two softs in his package.
Asked why, Rovanperä was giving nothing away.
“Because I wanted to take them,” he smiled.
Thierry Neuville was a strong 3.8s faster than Rovanperä and third fastest on the stage. Like Breen, he is returning after a crash on Saturday.
“Huge disappointment from yesterday so today it’s just driving through, trying a few things on the car but basically just be here for our spectators and our fans,” Neuville said.
“They are here for us, so much support on the stages and off the stages, we are here for them.”