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WRC - Sweden, SS9: Gear glitch for Neuville

Leader frustrated by paddle shift problems

17 February 2018 - 09h04, by www.wrc.com 

Rally Sweden leader Thierry Neuville hit trouble in Saturday morning’s opening speed test when his Hyundai i20’s automatic paddle shift gearchange failed.

Neuville was fifth through the Torntorp test, and actually extended his lead over team-mate Andreas Mikkelsen by 0.3sec, but the Belgian’s frustration was clear at the finish as TV pictures showed him reverting to the manual system.

“It was OK. We have to go now, no issues,” he said, before driving away from the finish and punching his steering wheel. Neuville stopped briefly on the liaison section and must tackle two more stages before service.

Mikkelsen had a clean run but his Hyundai Shell Mobis squad’s overnight 1-2-3 was interrupted when second fastest time for Craig Breen promoted the Irishman into third ahead of Hayden Paddon.

“The notes are a little bit slow in a couple of places but I have a really awesome feeling in the car. We’ll keep on throwing the kitchen sink at it and see what happens!” Breen said.

Paddon dropped 5.3sec behind Breen’s Citroën C3 but extended his advantage over Mads Østberg’s similar car by 2.0sec as their three-way fight for third raged on.

“Maybe I was too cautious. Nothing to worry about, we can push on in the next one. Our set-up works better on the repeated stages,” said Paddon.

Toyota Gazoo Racing’s Esapekka Lappi demoted a despondent Teemu Suninen to seventh while fastest time went to team-mate Ott Tänak, the Estonian 4.0sec quicker than Breen in his Yaris.

There was no fresh snow overnight and with temperatures hovering around -3°C, conditions were good and grip was more consistent than yesterday.

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