Rally RACC-Spain WRC 2021: Neuville dominates and Evans keeps Ogier from claiming 8th title

Thierry Neuville (Hyundai) has taken his second victory of the season after a commanding performance at the Rally RACC-Spain WRC 2021. The Belgian driver took the head of the rally on Friday to lead Elfyn Evans (Toyota) by 24.1 seconds, who extended the title fight until Italy.

The Spaniard Dani Sordo (35.4s) was unstoppable on Sunday winning every stage, completing the podium for the South Korean team, and preventing the Japanese squad to snatch the Constructors’ World Title. 

A disappointed Sebastien Ogier (Toyota) arrived one place down in fourth, unable to seal his eighth world title in Spain despite his comfortable lead on arrival. The Frenchman could not hide his disappointment as he crossed the finish line 42.1 seconds behind the winner, particularly considering his performance on the Power Stage. 

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He should, however, have it easy to conquer the title at the final in Monza as he leaves Salou with a 204 lead of the standings, 17 points more than his teammate and only rival Elfyn Evans (187). As for the Welshman, he failed on his goal to add a third win to his season, after those obtained in Portugal & Finland.

 His second place has only got him seven points closer to Ogier, although he has managed to keep the title fight alive until the final round of the Championship in Monza, which repeats both stage and protagonists from 2020. 

As for the commanding winner, Neuville, has given a driving masterclass to revalidate his triumph of 2019 also with Hyundai. Exuding confidence, The Belgian jostled his way to the provisional lead on Friday afternoon and from then on, no adversary was able to rob him of the position at the Rally RACC-Spain WRC 2021. 

Saturday: Neuville vanquishes all rivals  

Neuville built his success with an incredible run of seven consecutive stage wins (SS4-S10) between the Friday afternoon loop and the Saturday morning session, to finish this second day with another ‘scratch’. Put another way, the Belgian driver racked up eight wins from the ten stages of the first two days of the Rally RACC-Spain WRC 2021. 

After that show of strength, no one was able to keep up with him. Only Evans managed to trail behind, but despite his many attempts, especially during Saturday, the Welshman had to give in to Neuville’s superiority, who defeated him mercilessly. 

They had both started the day just seven-tenths of a second apart but Elfyn, unable to contain Thierry, ended the second jornay of the Rally de España with a 16.4-second disadvantage. There were still four rounds left on Sunday, but it was already apparent that the die had been cast. 

Sunday: Sordo takes control and Neuville keeps a steady course to victory  

On Sunday, with changing and very complicated weather conditions (intermittent rain), Sordo came to the forefront. Displaying a great state of form and skill, the Spaniard took the final four stages, including the Power Stage. An impeccable performance! In that last stage, Neuville finished second, just 1.4 seconds behind his Spanish teammate, overtaking Evans, who came third by 2.7 seconds. 

The Belgian managed to fend Evans off despite the slippery wet roads and the fact he was driving on hard dry tires. Elsewhere, a frustrated Ogier, winner in Montecarlo, Croatia, Sardegna & Kenya, finished fourth in the Power Stage.

The Frenchman was only three-tenths of a second slower than his Welsh teammate but, who knows, perhaps that point could decide the 2021 World Championship, which is to be fought out in Italy, in a month’s time! 

Images of Rally RACC-Spain WRC 2021: Hyundai Motorsport WRT.

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