Wales WRC: Evans stretches lead to almost 50 seconds

Elfyn Evans continued to storm away from the field on Saturday morning's Rally GB stages, as Thierry Neuville leapfrogged WRC rivals Sebastien Ogier and Ott Tanak into second.

Wales WRC: Evans stretches lead to almost 50 seconds
Elfyn Evans, Daniel Barritt, Ford Fiesta WRC, M-Sport
Elfyn Evans, Daniel Barritt, Ford Fiesta WRC, M-Sport
Elfyn Evans, Daniel Barritt, Ford Fiesta WRC, M-Sport
Elfyn Evans, Daniel Barritt, Ford Fiesta WRC, M-Sport
Elfyn Evans, Daniel Barritt, Ford Fiesta WRC, M-Sport
Elfyn Evans, Daniel Barritt, Ford Fiesta WRC, M-Sport

A clean sweep of four more stage wins brought DMACK Ford driver Evans's overall lead up to a massive 49.3 seconds as light rain averted the Welshman's fear of excessive tyre wear on dry roads.

Neuville had begun the morning fourth, but outpaced M-Sport pair Ogier and Tanak throughout.

He jumped both on the Dyfi stage before the mid-morning regroup, and is now 1.2s ahead of Tanak and 7.5s ahead of Ogier.

Despite falling to fourth, Ogier remains on course to clinch a fifth straight WRC title in Wales provided his rivals do not outscore him on Sunday's Power Stage.

Citroen's Kris Meeke took fifth from Toyota's Jari-Matti Latvala on the morning's Aberhirnant opener, but a mistake under braking on Dyfi cost him 10s and two places.

Andreas Mikkelsen had looked set to get ahead of both Meeke and Latvala with a string of quick times for Hyundai, though he picked up a 10s jump-start penalty on Dyfnant just as he caught Latvala.

He closed back to within 4.7s of the Toyota over the next two stages, and is now half a second ahead of Meeke in sixth.

Hayden Paddon lost eighth to Hyundai teammate Dani Sordo with a puncture on Dyfnant. He soon reclaimed the position, but both are under pressure from Juho Hanninen.

Second to Evans on Dyfi headlined a promising morning for Hanninen, who also escaped from Toyota teammate Esapekka Lappi after a brief early battle.

Standings after SS11:

Pos. Driver  Car Time/Gap
1. GBR Elfyn Evans M-Sport Ford 1h49m39.7s
2. BEL Thierry Neuville Hyundai +49.3
3. EST Ott Tanak M-Sport Ford +50.5
4. FRA Sebastien Ogier M-Sport Ford +56.8
5. FIN Jari-Matti Latvala Toyota +1:10.3
6. NOR Andreas Mikkelsen Hyundai +1:15.0
7. GBR Kris Meeke Citroen +1:15.5
8. NZL Hayden Paddon Hyundai +2:00.1
9. ESP Dani Sordo Hyundai +2:07.4
10. FIN Juho Hanninen Toyota +2:10.2
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