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WRC Spain: Neuville closes on win, Tanak nears title

Thierry Neuville is on the brink of his third World Rally Championship victory of the year on Rally of Spain as Hyundai team-mate Dani Sordo resisted Ott Tanak's advances.

But third place for Tanak would be enough for him to claim his first WRC title, provided he either beats or is just one place behind Neuville on the powerstage later on Sunday afternoon.

Despite holding a secure 21.5-second lead, Neuville came out the blocks with a fastest stage time on Riudecanyes, stretching his lead by a further 0.7s over Sordo in second. Sordo was 0.4s quicker than Tanak through the test as his gap over the Toyota grew to 3.5s.

On the La Mussara powerstage dress rehearsal Tanak was strong but Sordo was even stronger. He eked another second clear to hold Tanak to a 4.5s deficit.

Neuville's lead stands at 17.5s with two stages remaining as he opted to back off with brake fade.

Loeb remains fourth for Hyundai but has lost touch with the podium places. He lost 7.5s to Tanak on Riudecanyes as he struggled to find confidence in the i2 Coupe WRC.

Tanak WRC Spain 2019

He then lost a further 11.6s on La Mussara to lie 19.7s adrift overall, and is in danger of falling into the clutches of Toyota's Jari-Matti Latvala who is now just 10.1s behind.

Elfyn Evans broke further clear of his M-Sport team-mate Teemu Suninen across Sunday morning's two stages and nicked some time from Latvala ahead too.

But Latvala's buffer is still secure as the Toyota driver "took it a bit easier" on Sunday morning to protect his fifth place by 21.3s.

Suninen was consistently around three seconds slower than Sebastien Ogier across Saturday's stages, and the trend continued on Sunday morning with Suninen exactly three seconds off Ogier's pace on Riudecanyes.

But a strong time on La Mussara spurred by "hating being Seb plus three seconds" bucked the trend as he went five seconds quicker.

Ogier remains in eighth overall, one place behind Suninen, on a day where his six-year reign as world champion looks set to come to an end. But due to his hydraulic issues on Friday, the gap between the pair stands at 2m47.4s.

The leading WRC2 runners occupy ninth and 10th places. Mads Ostberg heads the WRC2 Pro category in ninth but had been under pressure from recently crowned champion Kalle Rovanpera.

Rovanpera took over 30s from Ostberg on five of Saturday's six stages only to lose 40s and position to team-mate Jan Kopecky on the short Salou stage with broken suspension. Eric Camilli heads the WRC2 class and is 10th in a Citroen C3 R5.

Kris Meeke restarted on Sunday following his crash into an armco barrier on Saturday morning.

Esapekka Lappi, whose Citroen ground to a halt on Friday's final test, missed a second day of action with an engine related issue denying him the opportunity to compete.

1RC1Thierry Neuville, N.GilsoulHyundai Shell Mobis WRTHyundai2h35m29.3s-0
2RC1Dani Sordo, C.del BarrioHyundai Shell Mobis WRTHyundai2h35m51.5s22.2s0
3RC1Ott Tanak, M.JarveojaToyota Gazoo Racing WRTToyota2h35m55.0s25.7s0
4RC1Sebastien Loeb, D.ElenaHyundai Shell Mobis WRTHyundai2h36m03.1s33.8s0
5RC1Jari-Matti Latvala, M.AnttilaToyota Gazoo Racing WRTToyota2h36m21.8s52.5s0
6RC1Elfyn Evans, S.MartinM-Sport Ford WRTFord2h36m40.2s1m10.9s0
7RC1Teemu Suninen, J.LehtinenM-Sport Ford WRTFord2h36m59.9s1m30.6s0
8RC1Sebastien Ogier, J.IngrassiaCitroen Total WRTCitroen2h39m42.3s4m13.0s0
9WRC2 ProMads Ostberg, T.EriksenCitroen Total WRTCitroen2h42m30.3s7m01.0s0
10WRC2Eric Camilli, F-X.BuresiEric CamiliCitroen2h42m33.3s7m04.0s0
11WRC2 ProJan Kopecky, J.HlousekSkoda MotorsportSkoda2h43m11.3s7m42.0s0
12WRC2 ProKalle Rovanpera, J.HalttunenSkoda MotorsportSkoda2h43m25.4s7m56.1s0
13WRC2Pierre-Louis Loubet, V.LandaisPierre-Louis LoubetSkoda2h43m41.6s8m12.3s0
14WRC2Kajetan Kajetanowicz, M.SzczepaniakKajetan KajetanowiczVolkswagen2h43m57.3s8m28.0s0
15WRC2Emil Lindholm, M.KorhonenEmil LindholmVolkswagen2h44m04.3s8m35.0s0
16WRC2 ProGus Greensmith, E.EdmondsonM-Sport Ford WRTFord2h45m24.6s9m55.3s0
17WRC2Ole-Christian Veiby, J.AnderssonOle Christian VeibyVolkswagen2h45m40.4s10m11.1s0
18WRC2Jose Antonio Suarez, A.IglesiasJose Antonio SuarezSkoda2h45m53.6s10m24.3s0
19WRC2Fabio Andolfi, S.ScattolinFabio AndolfiSkoda2h45m59.0s10m29.7s0
20WRC2Jan Solans, M.BarreiroJan SolansFord2h48m14.6s12m45.3s0
21WRC2Guillaume de Mevius, M.WydaegheGuillaume de MeviusCitroen2h48m19.6s12m50.3s0
22WRC2Nil Solans, M.MartiNil SolansVolkswagen2h50m36.6s15m07.3s0
23WRC2Nikolay Gryazin, Y.FedorovNikolay GryazinSkoda2h54m05.0s18m35.7s0
24RC2Jean-Michel Raoux, L.MagatJean Michel RaouxSkoda2h55m50.3s20m21.0s0
25WRC2'Pedro', E.BaldacciniPedroFord3h01m06.4s25m37.1s0
26RC4Sergi Francoli Comellas, M.S.El HageRACC MotorsportPeugeot3h05m38.4s30m09.1s0
27RC4Ruairi Bell, D.GarrodRuairi BellPeugeot3h07m25.8s31m56.5s0
28RC4Jose Luis Pelaez, R.Del BarrioTineo Auto ClubPeugeot3h07m32.4s32m03.1s0
29RC4Delbin Garcia, C.CarreraRACEPeugeot3h11m09.2s35m39.9s0
30RC2Eamonn Boland, M.J.MorrisseyEamonn BolandFord3h11m31.8s36m02.5s0
31RC2Francisco Antonio Lopez, B.OdriozolaRMC MotorsportFord3h12m59.4s37m30.1s0
32RC4Fabrizio Zaldivar, F.MussanoFabrizio ZaldivarFord3h15m43.2s40m13.9s0
33RC1Kris Meeke, S.MarshallToyota Gazoo Racing WRTToyota3h17m37.9s42m08.6s0
34RC4Georg Linnamae, V.KorsyaALM MotorsportPeugeot3h17m50.1s42m20.8s0
35WRC2Adrien Fourmaux, R.JamoulAdrien FourmauxFord3h18m14.3s42m45.0s0
36RC4Miquel Labarias, J.S.PradesEscuderia Motor TerrassaPeugeot3h18m15.6s42m46.3s0
37RC4Jean-Christophe Guibert, L.GracialJean Christophe GuibertFord3h20m26.0s44m56.7s0
38RC4Carlo Covi, S.AngiCarlo CoviFord3h20m55.0s45m25.7s0
39RC4Paulo Moreira, M.MacedoPaulo MoreiraPeugeot3h21m38.1s46m08.8s0
40RC4Nabila Tejpar, H.MagalhaesNabila TejparPeugeot3h25m59.6s50m30.3s0
41RC1Takamoto Katsuta, D.BarrittTommi Makinen RacingToyota3h30m45.8s55m16.5s0
42RC2Mauro Miele, L.BeltrameMauro MieleSkoda3h34m31.1s59m01.8s0
43RC5Roberto Antonucci, H.AntonucciRoberto AntonucciRenault3h47m27.7s1h11m58.4s0
44RC2Fabrizio Arengi Bentivoglio, M.BosiFabrizio ArengiSkoda3h56m18.4s1h20m49.1s0

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