Neuville ends barren run with Rally Italy victory


Thierry Neuville sealed his second World Rally Championship victory to end a barren spell at the Rally Italy on Sunday.

The Hyundai driver started the final day with a 16.1 second lead over Jari-Matti Latvala and was not to be denied his first win since his only previous success in Germany two years ago.

Belgian Neuville became the fifth winner in as many rounds, finishing the four-day rough road event with a comfortable 24.8 second margin over Latvala.

Neuville was quickest in nine of the 19 speed tests and Latvala was unable to claw back time despite having a new gearbox fitted, with fellow Volkswagen driver Sebastian Ogier finishing third to extend his championship lead to 64 points over Dani Sordo.

There was no final-day drama for Neuville, who set the quickest times on stages 16 and 18 as he took a long-awaited victory

"My second time and there is much less pressure leading the rally," Neuville said. "We had a great weekend and great things come to those who go and earn it.

"The feeling was good in the car, hopefully it'll be like this for the rest of the season. It wasn't easy but we keep working and it's good for the confidence."

Sordo was fourth for the fourth race to move up to second, while Mads Ostberg (Citroen) was unable to get behind the wheel due to a damaged engine.