Kalle Rovanpera called in SS16, but Thierry Neuville answered vehemently in the next stage. The Belgian of Hyundai Motorsport won with authority the Special Stage 17 of the Rally of Sweden, the 26.48 kilometer Vastervik 2, not a little strengthening his third position in the general standings of the Rally of Sweden when there is just one stage left.
Neuville was able to fit new tires at the Service and the difference compared to the previous test (always carried out on the same route) was clear. Rovanpera could do nothing, third in qualifying but 6 seconds flat behind him.
The final result of the special – which gave Neuville his fifth stage victory of his race – brought the gap between the Hyundai Motorsport driver and the reigning world champion to 7″1 with 10 timed kilometers still to go.
Craig Breen instead tried one last shot to try to reopen the fight for the victory, but this was only half successful. The Irishman from Hyundai was the closest driver to Neuville, finishing 3″8 behind him.
Thanks to this he was 3″1 better than Tanak, thus reducing his gap from the leader of the rally to 8″5. Considering that there are 10 kilometers left at the end, it is almost impossible that Breen will be able to outwit the Estonian of M-Sport Ford. Only a mistake by the latter could shuffle the cards in Craig’s favor.
Meanwhile Esapekka Lappi continues his comeback. In this special he managed to overtake Ole Christian Veiby and climbed to eighth position in the general standings. Now the Finnish driver from Hyundai is 10″ behind seventh position, held by WRC2 leader Oliver Solberg on Skda Fabia RS Rally2.
WRC 2023 – Rally Sweden – General classification after SS17
Pos. Pilota/navigatore Vettura Tempo/distacco Classe 1 Tanak/Jarveoja Ford Puma Rally1 2h20’11”8 WRC 2 Breen/Fulton Hyundai i20 N Rally1 +8″5 WRC 3 Neuville/Wydaeghe Hyundai i20 N Rally1 +18″0 WRC 4 Rovanpera/ Halttunen Toyota GR Yaris Rally1 +25″1 WRC 5 Evans/Martin Toyota GR Yaris Rally1 +1’24″1 WRC 6 Loubet/Gilsoul Ford Puma Rally1 +3’31″1 WRC 7 Solberg/Edmondson Skoda Fabia RS Rally2 +7′ 33″1 WRC2 8 Lappi/Ferm Hyundai i20 N Rally1 +7’43″1 WRC 9 Veiby/Erissen Volkswagen Polo GTI R5 +8’12″0 WRC2 10 Pajari/Malkonen Skoda Fabia RS Rally2 +8’40″9 WRC2