Thierry Neuville wins the WRC Rally in Japan
The Belgian driver has won the last round of the World Rally Championship. This is his second victory this season, after the Acropolis Rally Greece, and the seventeenth of his career.
Although he had been in the lead since the first day of the race, Thierry Neuville was barely 6/10th of a second ahead of the Welshman Elfyn Evans at the end of the 15th special stage, with another four special stages still to be covered. But Evans suffered a puncture and saw his hopes of victory vanish.
The Belgian driver was perfect over the last sections, which were contested in heavy rain. Having made the right tyre choice, the 34-year-old finished the race 1'11.1 ahead of his teammate, the Estonian Ott Tänak, in the Hyundai team. Japan's Takamoto Katsuta (Toyota) completed the Rally podium at 2'11.3.
This thirteenth and final round of the World Rally Championship saw the Finn Kalle Rovanperä (Toyota Yaris) crowned champion in the final drivers' ranking. At 22, he becomes the youngest champion in history, with 255 points. Estonia's Ott Tänak finished runner-up in the World Championship with 205 points. Belgian Thierry Neuville finished on the podium with 193 points.
This wonderful victory in Greece gave the Belgian driver the best possible finish to the championship.