Central European Rally Neuville Leads

October 26, 2023Joe Moore

The first day of the Central European Rally has come to an end. Thierry Neuville leads the rally after the day.

SSS1, Velka Chuchle

Ott Tänak kicked off the Central European Rally with a stage win. Tänak would set a time 0.7 seconds faster than Sebastien Ogier to win the opening stage. Thierry Neuville finished third fastest on the stage, 0.3 seconds slower than Ogier. Esapekka Lappi posted the fourth fastest time on the stage, 0.6 seconds slower than Neuville. Teemu Suninen rounded out the top five on the stage, finishing 0.8 seconds slower than Lappi. 

SSS2, Circuit Of Klatovy

Thierry Neuville topped the second stage of the weekend. Posting a time 2.2 seconds faster than Ott Tänak to take the rally lead. Kalle Rovanperä finished third fastest on the stage, 0.7 seconds slower than Tänak. Esapekka Lappi set the fourth fastest time on the stage, 0.1 seconds slower than Rovanperä. Sebastien Ogier rounded out the top five on the stage, 3.1 seconds slower than Lappi. 

Not The Start Evans Was Hoping For 

Elfyn Evans is in the pressure zone this weekend. As his championship hopes are on the line. Evans didn’t have the greatest start to the Central European Rally. As he currently sits 8th overall 10.7 seconds behind Thierry Neuville. More importantly, he sits 4.8 seconds behind his championship rival and teammate Kalle Rovanperä. Evans won the last time the WRC had a tarmac event. However, that was all the way back in April. There is a reason why Evans is behind, however. As on SSS2 he overshot a corner and lost time after his brakes locked up. Overall Evans probably doesn’t have much to worry about, however, those 4.8 seconds could be the difference maker in his championship hopes staying alive or ending this weekend. 

What To Expect From Day Two Of The Central European Rally

The first full day of the Central European Rally will see drivers face two loops of three stages totalling 60.90 km each loop and 121.80 km total. Kalle Rovanperä will be the first on the road all day long. As he is the championship leader. This isn’t much of an issue for Rovanperä however. As tarmac rallies don’t require sweeping like gravel events do. It also is ideal for Rovanperä on the first run through each stage as over time more mud will be pulled out of corners from drivers cutting. The current forecast says the stages will be wet tomorrow. Which in turn means more mud for drivers to pull out and slicker roads overall.