4/27/2019 10:49:25 AM

Thierry Neuville seizes late Argentina lead

Thierry Neuville seizes late Argentina lead

Villa Carlos Paz, Argentina: World championship leader Thierry Neuville pounced on a late mechanical failure for Ott Tanak to seize the lead on a muddy, rain-drenched Rally of Argentina on Friday.

Neuville, in a Hyundai, ended the first full day with a lead of almost 12 seconds over world champion Sebastien Ogier in a Citroen and more than 13 seconds on the unfortunate Tanak in a Toyota.

Tanak had looked well set to end the day in front but lost 24 seconds after the drive shaft broke in his car.

"The conditions were good enough, a little slippery than during the first stages, I tried to push," said the Belgian driver Neuville.

In the morning, Britain's Kris Meeke had enjoyed a narrow lead ahead of Neuville, six-time world champion Ogier and Tanak.

"This morning was a big challenge, and not so much about ultimate pace. It was more about reading the road," said Meeke after a morning run dampened by 48 hours of rain and which saw the one stage cancelled due to the treacherous conditions.

"The stages here are quite sandy and 70 per cent was what you would expect. But there are places where it was thick mud for 200 metres and I had to drop a couple of gears."

Neuville had climbed from ninth place in the morning despite acting as 'road opener'.

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