Thierry Neuville moved from fifth to second in the FIA World Rally Championship standings on Sunday afternoon after clinching a long-awaited victory at Rally Italia Sardegna.
Belgian star Neuville beat i20 N partner Esapekka Lappi by 33.0sec in a dream 1-2 finish for Hyundai at round six of 13, scoring his 18th career success alongside co-driver Martijn Wydaeghe.
Thierry Neuville’s victory served as a maiden 2023 triumph for both Neuville and his team, helping the Korean manufacturer to move within 23 points of championship-leading manufacturer Toyota Gazoo Racing.
The lead changed hands a whopping nine times during the fast and furious Mediterranean island fixture until Neuville seized the initiative when GR Yaris rival Sébastien Ogier went off the road in Saturday’s rain-hit penultimate test.
Reigning World Champion Rovanperä completed the podium in third overall, his best result out of five Rally Italia Sardegna attempts.
Elsewhere, Andreas Mikkelsen celebrated the unlikeliest of WRC2 victories on Sunday afternoon at Rally Italia Sardegna when rally leader Adrien Fourmaux slid off the road 1.8km into the weekend’s final stage.
The WRC season enters its second half with the toughest Safari Rally Kenya due in Naivasha from 22 – 25 June. KBC Channel 1 will broadcast five stages live on TV and the Shakedown on our Facebook pages.