AFP

Latvala takes early Sweden lead for Toyota

Latvala takes early Sweden lead for Toyota
By AutoSport

09/02/2017 at 21:40Updated 09/02/2017 at 23:02

Toyota's Jari Matti Latvala leads Rally Sweden overnight, having won the Karlstad superspecial opener after going head to head with former Volkswagen team-mate Sebastien Ogier.

Latvala - who finished on the podium on the World Rally Championship's opening round in Monte Carlo - managed a time 0.6 seconds faster than Thierry Neuville.

Belgian Hyundai driver Neuville broke his suspension while leading in Monte Carlo, but he rebounded to beat M-Sport's Ford Fiesta WRC driver Ott Tanak in his one-on-one in Sweden.

Neuville made a tactical move to start further wide than his fellow competitors, giving him a better start as his fellow Hyundai drivers struggled for launch on the ice and snow.

Team-mate Dani Sordo sits third overnight, with Tanak and Ogier - the Monte Carlo winner for his new team M-Sport - rounding out the top five.

Mads Ostberg, making his debut in a 2017-spec Fiesta WRC, had a strong run to sixth and only 1.2s behind Latvala, while Kris Meeke was the highest placed Citroen in seventh, complaining of getting bogged down at the start.

Toyota's Juho Hanninen, DMACK's Elfyn Evans (Fiesta WRC) and WRC2 leader Ole Christian 'OC' Veiby rounded out the top 10.

Skoda Fabia R5 driver Veiby, in only his fourth event in WRC2, headed off works Skoda driver and home hero Pontus Tidemand, who starts his first event of the season in WRC2 having not registered despite competing in Monte Carlo.

Veiby's fellow Norwegian and Fabia driver Henning Solberg was third quickest of the R5-class cars but isn't registered for WRC2.

The class top three was rounded out by another Norwegian, Eyvind Brynildsen.

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