Ott Tanak has paced himself to victory at the Rallye Deutschland cruising through the final four stages on a day when his M-Sport Ford team-mate Sebastien Ogier also re-took the outright lead in the World Rally Championship.
Tanak set-up the victory with two solid days on the tricky sealed roads which also included rain and greasy conditions.
“What can I say, this has been a very tricky rally and there were a lot of other favourites but we just did everything right,” said Tanak.
“We’ve won on Tarmac and we know we can win on gravel, so now there’s no reason why we shouldn’t be challenging for victory everywhere.
“It’s been a great weekend and I think we made the difference on Friday. It was a really clean run and we were very brave on the tyre choices which turned out to be a good call. After that it was just a case of controlling the lead.
“Another win feels good and with three events to go I don’t see why we shouldn’t be looking to the guys ahead and to the championship lead ourselves. If you want to fight for the championship you have to keep winning, and that is what we plan to do.”
Andreas Mikkelsen gave Citroen an encouraging result with second place while a valuable third place went the way of Ogier.
Thierry Neuville went into the event as the joint points leader, but he failed to complete the second day with broken left-rear suspension. Ogier now 17 points ahead in the title chase.
Juho Hanninen was the best of the Toyota’s in fourth place ahead of Craig Breen (Citroen) who edged out Elfyn Evans in another Ford, with Jari-Matti Latvala (Toyota) one place further back.
Hyundai had high hopes for this event, but Neuville’s retirement on the second day was alongside that of Dani Sordo on Friday. Kiwi Hayden Paddon battling a puncture amongst other issues to come home in eighth place.
“When conditions were more consistent, we showed some improvement in performance compared to last year, so there are some positives to take away from this tough weekend,” said Paddon.
“I knew this would be one of the hardest rallies of the season, so I am pleased that we made it to the end, and showing better stage times.
“I am going back home to NZ for a month, during which I will also take part in a few gravel rallies, so I am looking forward to that. Then, it’s back to Europe when we will begin our push for a good result to finish the season.”
Sordo was the fastest on the final TV stage, with Ogier’s fourth place also grabbing points on Neuville who failed to get into the points on the stage.
The WRC now has a long break with the next round being in Spain on 6-8 October.
VIDEO: Morning Stages
FINAL POSITIONS: Rallye Deutschland
|1||O. Tanak||Ford Fiesta WRC||2:57:31.7|
|2||A. Mikkelsen||Citroen C3 WRC||+0:16.4|
|3||S. Ogier||Ford Fiesta WRC||+0:30.4|
|4||J. Hanninen||Toyota Yaris WRC||+1:49.2|
|5||C. Breen||Citroen C3 WRC||+2:01.5|
|6||E. Evans||Ford Fiesta WRC||+2:03.4|
|7||J.M. Latvala||Toyota Yaris WRC||+3:58.2|
|8||H. Paddon||Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC||+4:32.4|
|1||M-Sport World Rally Team||325|
|3||Toyota Gazoo Racing World Rally Team||213|
|4||Citroën Total Abu Dhabi World Rally Team||163|