Thierry Neuville and Elfyn Evans Tied for Lead in Croatia Rally After First Day

Neuville and Evans tied for the lead in Croatia Rally, with Ogier close behind. Tight competition highlights the effectiveness of current WRC regulations, promising an intense second leg.

Salman Khan
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Thierry Neuville and Elfyn Evans Tied for Lead in Croatia Rally After First Day

Thierry Neuville and Elfyn Evans Tied for Lead in Croatia Rally After First Day

Thierry Neuville and Elfyn Evans are tied for the lead in the Croatia Rally after the first day of competition, with Sebastien Ogier 6.6 seconds behind in third place. Neuville and Evans ended the day with identical overall times of 1:05:15.3, with Neuville holding the first-place position due to having four fastest stage times compared to Evans' two.

Neuville controlled the morning stages, winning three out of four and building an 8.6 second lead over Evans. However, a puncture in the sixth stage cost the Hyundai driver time, allowing Evans to draw level. Ogier, running sixth on the road, was one of the worst-hit by changing grip levels due to mud and snow but fought back to win the last two stages of the day.

The close battle between Neuville and Evans highlights the thrill and competitiveness of the current WRC technical regulations, which some drivers, including Evans, want to see remain in place for 2025. "It's so close, there's nothing in it really," Evans said. "It's good to be in this position after the first day."

In the WRC2 category, Citroën's Nikolay Gryazin and Yohan Rossel opened a commanding lead of over two minutes over the rest of the field. Gryazin set the tone early on, winning seven stages on Friday.

Why this matters: The tight competition between Neuville, Evans, and Ogier in the Croatia Rally showcases the high level of skill and thrill in the World Rally Championship. The close battle also underscores the effectiveness of the current technical regulations in promoting competitive racing.

The rally continues on Saturday with eight more stages over similar winding hill roads, with rain showers expected to add to the challenge for the crews. Neuville and Evans will be looking to gain an advantage over each other, while Ogier aims to close the gap to the leaders. The second leg of the Croatia Rally promises to deliver more intense competition as the drivers battle for victory in this fourth round of the World Rally Championship.

Key Takeaways

  • Neuville and Evans tied for Croatia Rally lead after Day 1, Ogier 6.6s behind.
  • Neuville won 3 stages, Evans 2, but a puncture cost Neuville time.
  • Gryazin and Rossel (Citroën) lead WRC2 category by over 2 minutes.
  • Drivers want current WRC technical regulations to remain for 2025.
  • Rally continues Saturday with 8 more stages, rain expected to add challenge.