NEUVILLE FASTEST THROUGH POLAND OPENER

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NEUVILLE FASTEST THROUGH POLAND OPENER

PHOTO: Hayden Paddon drives his Hyundai i20 WRC away from the team’s impressive European-based service park facility (Hyundai pic)

HYUNDAI’S Thierry Neuville claimed a slender advantage of 0.2 seconds after the opening 2.5 km special stage of the PZM 73rd Rally Poland at the Mikolajki Arena on Thursday evening.

Neuville, with boosted confidence after winning the previous round of the FIA World Rally Championship in Sardinia, took the overnight lead ahead of Volkswagen’s Andreas Mikkelsen, with Ott Tanak third in a Ford Fiesta RS.

Australia’s Scott Pedder, with co-driver Dale Moscatt, finished 13th in their Skoda Fabia R5 out of 25 starters in the WRC2 field. Earlier, the Melbourne driver set fifth-equal Shakedown time with M-Sport Ford rival Elfyn Evans, the current WRC2 series leader.

Friday’s first full day will comprise two identical loops of four stages north-east of Mikolajki before a second pass around the arena test. Drivers face 119.42km of action before returning for the overnight halt.