The Belgian Thierry Neuville (Hyundai) won the Rally of Spain, in front of the Welshman Elfyn Evans (Toyota), from Spanish Dani sordo (Hyundai) and from the French Sébastien Ogier (Toyota), which continues to lead the World Cup, before the last race in Italy.
Ogier, now a seven-time world champion, saw his difference reduced by seven points this weekend, but he still has 17 units ahead of second in the standings, Evans, before the twelfth and final race at Monza (19-21 November).
Neuville, meanwhile, consolidates his third place in the World Cup, although he no longer has a chance to qualify for the title. The Belgian, five times runner-up in the world, won his 15th rally in the WRC. Unstoppable on Friday and Saturday, Neuville devoted himself this Sunday to managing his lead, although he had a scare due to a mechanical problem just before the last special stage.
In an amateur video, broadcast by the WRC World Championship site, he was seen pushing his car to start it, while flames shot out of the back of his Hyundai.
“Unfortunately, I had a lot of stress before the last stage, once again. I am very disappointed in that sense, since in general the weekend has been perfect and pleasant ”, Neuville said, relieved, after hugging his father and taking the podium.
With a 24-point lead on the Friday before the start of Rally Spain, Ogier is now just 17 ahead of Evans. But the Frenchman remains the big favorite to take the title, for the eighth time, in November in Italy.
“It is clear that before arriving here I expected something better. But despite this difficult weekend we have done what was needed in the fight for the title ", the Frenchman explained.
Evans finished the race with a bittersweet taste. "On the one hand, I am satisfied, but on the other frustrated, it was not a perfect weekend"said the Welshman.
This season is the last full season played by Ogier. Next year, the 37-year-old will seek other horizons, such as endurance tests and 24 Hours of Le MansAlthough he will occasionally play some rallies with Toyota.
If he achieved that eighth title, he would stay one of the record he has in his possession, with nine, his compatriot Sébastien Loeb.