Ott Tänak has continued to make inroads on Elfyn Evans on Saturday morning of Croatia Rally, as Thierry Neuville extended his lead ever so slightly by 0.3 seconds.
The drivers went from the longest stage of the day straight into the shortest with a first pass of the 5.45-mile Vinski Vrh – Duga Resa test.
The short nature of the stage ultimately meant only a little time could be made up, but Tänak made the most of that, taking 2.2s out of Evans and is now 16.1s behind.
“It was a good stage, actually. In the slippery section it was a bit tricky but otherwise good fun.”
Evans wasn’t too concerned about the M-Sport driver’s pursuit but said he could’ve been a bit cleaner on the stage.
“It felt like a pretty okay push, but probably a bit scrappy at the end there,” he admitted.
Pierre-Louis Loubet claimed of a possible puncture at the end of SS9, but come the end of the 10th test he confirmed this was not the case.
“Maybe I overheated the rear tire in the last stage and in the last split it felt like I lost a lot of grip,” he explained. “In this one I was quite aggressive, but not a perfect run.”
The M-Sport driver is currently fifth, with Takamoto Katsuta keeping in close contact just 6.6s behind.
Sébastien Ogier would not let on to what the problem was before the first stage of the morning which caused him to check in late.
But at the end of SS10 the seventh placed driver explained the issue in some more detail.
“I don’t know – we are just going through I guess,” he said. “A small mistake was done in service this morning and we had to fix it [before SS9], the car would have been undriveable otherwise.”
Following his win on SS9 in which he was pleased with the conditions, Kalle Rovanperä had a different opinion on this route, with dust being a bit of a problem for the Toyota driver.
“It was a bit tricky to be honest,” he said.
“In the beginning I felt that I didn’t get the tires working so well, and then the last part was really slippery. Let’s see if the Tarmac is cleaning a bit, I don’t know, but it was quite dusty.”
The reigning champion still took the stage win however, making it two from two so far on Saturday morning.