Hyundai’s Neuville was unbeatable at moments across the all-tarmac event with co-driver Martijn Wydaeghe, winning by 24.1s and securing his second win of the season after a home victory in Belgium in August.
On Friday morning, Evans led the rally, but a series of eight consecutive stage wins saw Neuville impose his dominance, turning a 0.7s lead into a substantial margin over his Toyota competitor, who struggled to find the sweet spot with his Yaris. Despite the late drama, Neuville’s steady effort across Sunday’s four stages resulted in a crushing victory. Due to a starter motor malfunction, the Belgian’s i20 had trouble starting and was forced to regroup before completing the final stage, which was also drenched in rain.
While Neuville backed off slightly to maintain his lead, it was Sordo’s sunny day on Sunday, as he won the first two stages. After winning the penultimate test, a repeat of the previous two, the Spaniard claimed his third stage victory of the race.
Championship leader Sebastien Ogier, finished fourth behind Hyundai’s home hero Dani Sordo, who pipped the Frenchman to the final podium on Sunday. Evans’ second position confirmed Toyota’s title hopes.
After Evans defeated Ogier on the Power Stage, Ogier now leads Evans by 17 points in the championship. Hyundai’s one-two finish on the Power Stage confirmed that the manufacturers’ title fight between Toyota and Hyundai would be determined in Monza.
Kalle Rovanpera of Toyota finished sixth in his maiden Rally Spain in a WRC car, ahead of M-Sport’s Gus Greensmith and Hyundai’s pair of Oliver Solberg and WRC rookie Nil Solans, who both drove flawlessly throughout.