SUNNE, Suede: Belgian Thierry Neuville of Hyundai showed relentless focus to win the atypical "ice and snow" Rally of Sweden on Sunday (Feb 18) having led the field since Friday.
Ireland's Craig Breen in a Citroen was second at 19.8sec and Norway's Andreas Mikkelsen, also of Citroen, was third at 28.3sec while world champion Sebastien Ogier finished way down the rankings complaining of having to go first and clear the route in the snow.
Ogier, who won the season-opener in Monte Carlo in January, finished 11th a massive 8min 50sec behind Neuville as his M-Sport Ford Focus failed to overcome having to "sweep" the deep drifts.
Neuville took the lead on Friday morning and was run close for three days before extending his lead with an attack on a special speed stage run on gravel.
"We were not expecting to be so fast this year. The team and the car made it possible for us to fight for this win," said Neuville.
But the Belgian clearly enjoyed cornering on the ice and snow and was largely faultless over the four days.
After two rallies Neuville tops the leaderboard on 41 points with Ogier second on 30 and Jari-Matti Latvala, seventh in Sweden, third with 23.