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Thierry Neuville adds to Rally Sweden lead

Neuville adds to Rally Sweden lead
By AutoSport

11/02/2017 at 11:40Updated 11/02/2017 at 11:57

Hyundai World Rally Championship driver Thierry Neuville extended his Rally Sweden lead on Saturday morning, while Ott Tanak closed on snatching second from Jari-Matti Latvala.

Neuville managed the morning effectively, having started the day with a 28.1-second advantage, taking a second and two third-fastest stage times to send his lead north of half a minute.

His closest rival on Friday, Toyota's Latvala, took an extra tyre than his WRC rivals for the morning loop, and suffered with the extra weight. Tanak was fastest on all of Saturday's morning stages in a clean sweep in his Fiesta, cutting Latvala's advantage from 21.6s to 9.2s.

The Estonian credited running further back on the road with his turn of pace.

His M-Sport team-mate Sebastien Ogier sits 14.2s behind Tanak in fourth after a subdued morning, and having cleaned the road on Friday, he's just under a minute behind Neuville. The second running of the Knon stage, due to be SS12, has been cancelled on safety grounds.

Organisers used social media to tweet the message: "Due to safety reasons after analysing the average speeds on SS9, SS12 Knon 2 is cancelled. This after recommendations from FIA."

Rounding out the top five was Kris Meeke, who was happy with his rhythm in the stages but reckoned he was just 'too slow'. The Citroen man made no mistakes but could not match Tanak or Ogier, and fell 14.1s behind the reigning champion.

Dani Sordo, Craig Breen, Elfyn Evans and Stephane Lefebvre all ended the morning a place further up after Hayden Paddon suffered powersteering failure on the first test. Paddon claimed driving his Hyundai i20 was like "wrestling a 400lb lion", and he has fallen from sixth to 10th.

Taking Paddon's spot was his team-mate Sordo, who was more consistent after a mistake-ridden Friday. Breen was struggling with confidence after his mistakes on Friday - which included a trip into a bank - confirming he would run at a slower but more-manageable pace.

After suffering a puncture on Friday, Evans is eighth, while Lefebvre is at an instant disadvantage in a 201 Citroen DS 3. Works Skoda Fabia R5 driver Pontus Tidemand continues to lead WRC2 by more than one minute. Follow Rally Sweden with Autosport Race Centre Live from 1pm UK time on Saturday.

LEADING POSITIONS AFTER SS11:

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