Neuville on course for Rally of Ypres Rally triumph

Ypres (Belgium) (AFP) –


Belgium's Thierry Neuville was in sight of a 14th career win on Saturday after maintaining his lead in his home Rally of Ypres.

The Hyundai driver has claimed seven stages over the first two days and leads Irish teammate Craig Breen by just 10 seconds.

Welshman Elfyn Evans is third in his Toyota, 42 seconds behind.

World champion and series leader Sebastien Ogier is 46 seconds off the pace, in fifth position, just behind his Finnish Toyota teammate Kalle Rovanpera.

Despite the narrow advantage, Breen is unlikely to seriously challenge Neuville on Sunday with Hyundai desperate not to risk a podium one-two by seeing their drivers push too hard.

Sunday's final four stages will be held at Francorchamps, 300km from Ypres with a marathon liaison leaving some drivers disgruntled.

"I don't need to push and to take unnecessary risks on a track that is prone to punctures," said Neuville.

Breen, meanwhile, said he understood if Hyundai wanted to impose 'team orders'.

"I understand the team's position, it's too important. Thierry must win for the drivers' championship and Hyundai must take the maximum number of points to narrow the gap to Toyota."

Earlier Saturday, part of the bumpy 10th stage was neutralised after Japanese Toyota driver Takamoto Katsuta hit an electric pole and crashed out of the rally.

"I went wide and there was a big ditch," said Katsuta. "In this rally there is no chance to make this kind of mistake."