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Neuville wins Tour of Corsica rally as Ogier finishes second

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BASTIA, Corsica (AP) Belgian driver Thierry Neuville extended his overnight lead to comfortably win the Tour of Corsica rally on Sunday, with world champion Sebastien Ogier finishing nearly one minute behind in second place.

Neuville became the fourth driver to win in as many races this season, suggesting an unpredictable campaign to come after years of dominance from Ogier and his predecessor Sebastien Loeb.

Neuville had won three of Saturday’s four stages to lead Ogier by 38.9 seconds overnight and padded out that advantage to win by 54.7. Spaniard Dani Sordo was 56 behind Neuville in third.

Sunday’s ninth and penultimate stage – a long 54-kilometer (33-mile) trek from Antisanti to Poggio di Nazza – gave Ogier an opportunity to close the gap on Neuville.

Instead, he lost more time due to an electrical problem, finishing in seventh. Neuville won stage 9 to extend his lead, while Sordo leapfrogged Ogier.

Neuville was in a comfortable position heading into the 10th and final special of the race, and did not need to push hard over the 10.4-kilometer (6.5-mile) power stage from Porto-Vecchio to Palombaggia offering five bonus points.

Finnish driver Jari-Matti Latvala narrowly won it ahead of Ogier, who moved back in front of Sordo.

Overall, it was a frustrating race for Ogier, who left Volkswagen to drive the Ford Fiesta for M-Sport this season. Even though he won the season-opening Monte Carlo Rally, he is still getting accustomed to the car.

Ogier has won the past four world titles and is looking to become only the second driver to win five. Countryman Loeb holds the record with nine, all won consecutively.

Hamilton tops second Abu Dhabi F1 practice with new track record

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Lewis Hamilton swept to the top of the timesheets in second Formula 1 practice for the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix on Friday evening, beating Ferrari rival Sebastian Vettel by one-tenth of a second.

Hamilton trailed Vettel through the daytime-run opening practice session, but managed to strike back by recording a new track record at the Yas Marina Circuit for Mercedes.

Hamilton recorded a fastest lap time of 1:37.877 to finish one-tenth of a second clear of Vettel at the checkered flag, appearing to have an edge across a single lap on the ultra-soft tire.

Red Bull threw its hat into the ring as a possible rival for pole through Daniel Ricciardo, who finished the session third-fastest, three-tenths of a second back from Hamilton at the head of the field.

Kimi Raikkonen ended FP2 in fourth place in the sister Ferrari, finishing within half a second of Hamilton, and managed to edge out fellow Finn Valtteri Bottas, who was a further two-tenths back in P5.

Max Verstappen failed to get in a quick flying lap during FP2, ending the session one second down in P6 for Red Bull.

Sergio Perez and Esteban Ocon’s tight intra-team fight at Force India continued through FP2 as the pair were separated by just 0.01 seconds, taking seventh and eighth respectively to finish as the leading midfield drivers.

Nico Hulkenberg and Fernando Alonso completed the top 10 for Renault and McLaren, with Felipe Massa following in 11th for Williams on his final Friday appearance in F1.

Massa was fortunate to avoid an accident with Ricciardo during the final 15 minutes of the session after a mix up at the hairpin when the Brazilian tried to get a wider line for the back straight.

Running in Abu Dhabi continues with final practice at Yas Marina on Saturday morning from 5am ET on the NBC Sports app, followed by qualifying at 8am ET on NBCSN.