Formula 1
R
Emilia Romagna GP
18 Apr
Race in
42 days
MotoGP
28 Mar
FP1 in
19 days
R
Doha GP
02 Apr
Next event in
26 days
Formula E
R
Rome ePrix
10 Apr
Next event in
34 days
IndyCar
R
Birmingham
16 Apr
Next event in
40 days
23 Apr
Next event in
47 days

Catalunya WRC: Loeb leads Hyundai 1-2-3

Sebastien Loeb has launched himself into the lead of Rally Spain, sealing a Hyundai 1-2-3 ahead of Thierry Neuville and Dani Sordo.

Catalunya WRC: Loeb leads Hyundai 1-2-3

Despite "pushing really hard," Toyota's Ott Tanak has slipped from third to fifth place, 20 seconds behind Neuville.

But as things stand Tanak, who will switch to Hyundai next season, is provisionally set to clinch his first WRC title on Sunday subject to powerstage points.

Loeb was a man on a mission, jumping up from sixth to fourth on stage four before overhauling Tanak into third with a stage win on Horta-Bot.

With a "perfect" car, Loeb "tried very hard" and destroyed his competition on La Fatarella-Vilalba by 8.9s to fly into the lead. He is 1.7s ahead of Neuville ahead of Saturday's Tarmac stages.

Sordo and Neuville began Friday afternoon separated by just one second in first and second, but Sordo quickly found an edge and grabbed 3.2s from his teammate on Gandesa to establish a 4.2s lead.

Another 0.4s were eked out over Neuville on Horta-Bot but he struggled on La Fatarella-Vilalba. A confused Sordo lost 10.5s to Neuville to trail by 5.9s in third.

Kris Meeke and Elfyn Evans had been embroiled in a squabble all day, 0.3s apart prior to the afternoon loop.

The pair matched each other on Gandesa before Evans surrendered 1.8s and the position on the stage five, not quite happy with the handling of his M-Sport Fiesta. But it got worse for Evans on La Fatarella-Vilalba and he lost 29.5s to Meeke with a sick sounding engine.

Meeke meanwhile was impeccable on the 24-mile test and vaulted into fourth position ahead of teammate Tanak, 5.4s shy of the podium. Evans fell behind a rejuvenated Latvala to seventh who felt he was "back on the map" after struggling for confidence on Friday morning.

La Fatarella-Vilalba was a tricky stage for M-Sport. Teemu Suninen was in the mood and setting strong times throughout the afternoon but gave up 23.5s to Meeke on Friday's final stage to lie eighth, 7.8s behind teammate Evans overnight.

Sebastien Ogier lost over three minutes with hydraulic problems aboard his Citroen C3 WRC in the morning, seemingly leaving his title hopes in tatters.

Wrestling his Citroen through two stages with no power steering left blisters on his hands, and a mistake on Gandesa where he got crossed up and overshot a hairpin compounded his troubles. Ogier confessed to having no motivation as he languished well outside the top 10 places.

Citroen's weekend got worse when Esapekka Lappi retired from seventh place with a technical problem on the second stage of the loop, Horta-Bot. Lappi's demise promoted Takamoto Katsuta up to ninth, while Citroen could find some solace in Mads Ostberg leading the WRC2 category in 10th.

Tonight the cars will be converted from gravel to Tarmac specification for Saturday and Sunday's legs on asphalt.

shares
comments
Tanak to leave Toyota for Hyundai in shock 2020 move

Previous article

Tanak to leave Toyota for Hyundai in shock 2020 move

Next article

Catalunya WRC: Neuville back ahead, Meeke crashes

Catalunya WRC: Neuville back ahead, Meeke crashes
Load comments

About this article

Series WRC
Event Rally Catalunya
Author Luke Barry
How Tanak froze out the competition at the Arctic Rally Prime

How Tanak froze out the competition at the Arctic Rally

Ott Tanak made up for a disastrous Monte Carlo Rally by leading all the way on the snow-kissed stages of the Arctic Rally Finland and in the process hit back at an event Toyota had been expected to dominate…

WRC
Mar 1, 2021
What to look out for in the 2021 WRC Prime

What to look out for in the 2021 WRC

As the 2021 World Rally Championship prepares to launch amid tight COVID-19 restrictions in Monte Carlo, here are the eight things unrelated to the pandemic that you should keep an eye on this year

WRC
Jan 21, 2021
Evans on the talking points of WRC 2021 Prime

Evans on the talking points of WRC 2021

He came close to the title last year, and now Toyota's Elfyn Evans gives his verdict on what to expect from 2021 as the World Rally Championship prepares to reconvene for the Monte Carlo season opener.

WRC
Jan 20, 2021
Why Britain's continued WRC absence is a wake-up call Prime

Why Britain's continued WRC absence is a wake-up call

With Rally GB dropping off the World Rally Championship calendar for the second year in a row, one of Britain's best-attended sporting events faces an uncertain future. It's an unfortunate situation that points to troubling times ahead

WRC
Jan 12, 2021
The Top 10 WRC drivers of 2020 Prime

The Top 10 WRC drivers of 2020

A drastically-shortened 2020 season gave the World Rally Championship protagonists precious little stage mileage to strut their stuff, but as ever the cream rose to the top across the seven events. We rank the year's best performers

WRC
Jan 4, 2021
The twists and turns of a turbulent 2020 WRC season Prime

The twists and turns of a turbulent 2020 WRC season

The 2020 World Rally Championship bestrode all 12 months of the Gregorian calendar, and in terms of the competition it was a cracker. Moreover, it was an inspiration in dark days for the world and our industry.

WRC
Jan 1, 2021
The early setbacks that shaped the WRC's greatest driver Loeb Prime

The early setbacks that shaped the WRC's greatest driver Loeb

A series of close calls in his formative years threatened to leave rallying's top echelon tantalisingly out of reach for the man who would go on to claim nine WRC titles. In an exclusive interview, Sebastien Loeb recalls the key steps on his road to dominance.

WRC
Dec 11, 2020
Why the WRC's unorthodox Monza ending was a necessary one Prime

Why the WRC's unorthodox Monza ending was a necessary one

The Monza Rally was an unusual way to end an unusual WRC season, and while far from ideal, without it the series could have faced serious ramifications. To persuade stakeholders to commit to an uncertain future, Monza was an important showcase…

WRC
Dec 9, 2020