WARSAW (Reuters) - Belgian Thierry Neuville won the Rally of Poland in a Hyundai one-two on Sunday to slash Sebastien Ogier’s overall lead in the world championship to 11 points with five rounds remaining.
New Zealander Hayden Paddon finished second, one minute 23.9 seconds behind, with France’s four-times world champion Ogier third for M-Sport Ford and nearly a minute further back.
It was Neuville’s third win in eight rallies and came after a hard-fought battle with Estonian Ott Taenak, Ogier’s team mate, who had led on Sunday morning only to hit a tree and retire.
Taenak’s departure left Neuville more than a minute clear and the Belgian was quick to commiserate with his rival after the 21st stage.
“I’m sorry for him because he did an unbelievable rally,” he told the wrc.com website. “A lot of people in the previous stage told me he was pushing far too hard.”
Toyota’s Jari-Matta Latvala won the final power stage to take five bonus points. Ogier has 160 points to Neuville’s 149 while Latvala is on 112.
Reporting by Alan Baldwin in London, editing by Clare Fallon