Thierry Neuville and his team Hyundai Motorsport claimed second victory of the 2017 FIA World Rally Championship (WRC) season at the YPF Rally Argentina on Sunday, April 30.
The 28-year-old Belgian snatched one of the closest FIA World Rally Championship wins in history with just 0.7 seconds lead over Ford driver Elfyn Evans driving on DMACK tyres. The Hyundai i20 Coupe driver was trailing behind Evans by 11.5sec heading into the last leg of the race.
Evans, who was leading the race from Friday had brake problems in the final stages. Combined with Neuville's attack sent the pair into the final 16.32km test at the famous El Condor separated by just 0.6sec. The Welshman then clipped a bridge, ending his dreams of a maiden victory. That handed Neuville a second consecutive success.
An emotional Evans said "I'm gutted to lose by such a fine margin after so many issues. I hit a bridge and that was probably the difference. It's difficult to take now after holding such a big lead, but part of it is my own doing and I need to come back stronger to win in the future."
While Evans was leading the rally, Neuville had spent much of the middle of the rally in a close competition that also involved the M-Sport Ford's of Ott Tanak and Sebastien Ogier, privateer Mads Ostberg and Toyota Gazoo's Jari-Matti Latvala. In the end, Tanak steered to the third spot in his Fiesta, a further 29.2sec back.
Reigning champion Ogier finished the rally in fourth spot and the Frenchman increased his championship lead to 16 points after five of 13 rounds. Latvala was Evans' closest challenger early on the rally, but the Finn slipped back to finish fifth in his Toyota Yaris. Hyundai's Hayden Paddon finished the rally on six. Juho Hanninen, Dani Sordo, Mads Ostberg and WRC 2 winner Pontus Tidemand completed the leaderboard.
|1||Thierry Neuville, N.Gilsoul||Hyundai Motorsport||3h38m10.6s|
|2||Elfyn Evans, D.Barritt||M-Sport World Rally Team||0.7s|
|3||Ott Tanak, M.Jarveoja||M-Sport World Rally Team||29.9s|
|4||Sebastien Ogier, J.Ingrassia||M-Sport World Rally Team||1m24.7s|
|5||Jari-Matti Latvala, M.Anttila||Toyota Gazoo Racing WRC||1m48.1s|
|6||Hayden Paddon, J.Kennard||Hyundai Motorsport||7m42.7s|
|7||Juho Hanninen, K.Lindstrom||Toyota Gazoo Racing WRC||11m16.9s|
|8||Dani Sordo, M.Marti||Hyundai Motorsport||14m44.1s|
|9||Mads Ostberg, O.Floene||M-Sport World Rally Team||15m11.3s|
|10||Pontus Tidemand, J.Andersson||Skoda Motorsport||17m32.1s|
Sixth round of the FIA WRC 2017 is the Vodafone Rally de Portugal in Matosinhos, near Porto, from 18 to 21 May.