Rally Japan – A devastating first stage for Neuville, Fourmaux and Sordo, Evans in the lead

The first Japanese stage caused damage to Thierry Neuville, Dani Sordo and Adrien Fourmaux. Elfyn Evans leads comfortably.

Published on 17/11/2023 à 12:32

Medhi Casaurang

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Rally Japan – A devastating first stage for Neuville, Fourmaux and Sordo, Evans in the lead

The improvised parking lot in SS2 of the 2023 Rally Japan. Photo WRC

Rally of Japan 2023 – General classification after Stage 1:

 

  • The first stage of the 2023 Rally Japan causes major damage. Contested in fog and rain, the season finale of WRC lost two Rally1 leaders in the second special, contested during the night from Thursday to Friday in French time. Dani Sordo (Hyundai) and Adrien fourmaux (M-Sport Ford) went off the road on the same bend!

  • The Spaniard, whose car completely burned in 2022, and the Frenchman, who made a promising return to the premier category thanks to his performance in Rally2 this year, are unscathed, as are their co-driver Carlos Carrera and Alexandre Coria. On the other hand, they will not return to the road on this first stage.
  • SS4 was canceled by Race Direction. The thick fog did not allow the medical helicopter to take off in an emergency.
  • In SS7, he was the only driver to rival leader Elfyn Evans (Toyota) which hit a tree. Thierry Neuville (Hyundai) made a mistake by leaving the road, from the very first corner of this special! The Belgian and his co-driver Martijn Wydaeghe are also unhurt, but they will not go any further in this stage:

  • Other drivers made mistakes, notably at Toyota. Stage local Takamoto Katsuta tore off several sections of his bodywork at the end of SS2 while he was driving very (too) fast (+ 6 minutes). Then, in SS6, it's the eight-time world champion Sébastien Ogier which hit a safety rail, fortunately at a reduced speed (+10 seconds).
  • Slowed down by a recalcitrant defogging system then electrical problems, Ott Tänak (M-Sport Ford) is no longer in contention for victory.
  • The battle for victory turns into a long-distance duel between Elfyn Evans and Sébastien Ogier. The Frenchman is almost 2 minutes behind the Welshman, and should not be able to catch up with him regularly. Such an outlay which can be explained by a 1 minute penalty inflicted on Ogier. The Gapençais took too long to replace a door as well as a piece of rollbar within the regulated service park deadline.
  • Brand new WRC2 champion, Andreas Mikkelsen (Skoda) is placed in 4th provisional place. The Norwegian compensates for the lack of power of his Fabia Rally2 with his agility on winding and wet stages.
  • The Rally Japan continues its first stage until late morning this Friday French time.

ALSO READ > Rally of Japan: A popular event, the logbook of our special correspondent

Medhi Casaurang

Passionate about the history of motorsport across all disciplines, I learned to read thanks to AUTOhebdo. At least that's what my parents tell everyone when they see my name inside!

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