Tanak wraps up Rally Argentina victory

Speedcafe.com

Monday 30th April, 2018 - 7:00am

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Ott Tanak

Ott Tanak made no mistake on the final day of Rally Argentina to take a comprehensive victory in Round 5 of the FIA World Rally Championship.

The Estonian bagged his first win for Toyota Gazoo Racing, beating Hyundai’s Thierry Neuville by 37.7s as the Korean manufacturer’s part-timer Danio Sordo completed the podium.

Tanak took a cautious approach to Sunday’s three stages, having already won 10 of the 15 prior stages, but did also pick up two Power Stage points.

“It’s a special one. We never knew what was going to happen with the team change but it’s nice to see how quickly we’re improving,” he said.

“The car is near enough to my liking and it’s a massive boost for a driver if you have the confidence.

“I can’t say it was easy, I was pushing really hard and living on the edge on Friday and Saturday.”

Neuville won the final two stages of the rally and therefore picked up five Power Stage points, putting him 10 points behind championship leader Sebastien Ogier.

Sordo had appeared assured of a podium but for a significant error heading into the final day, and so it was that the Spaniard finished with a 42.9s margin over Ogier.

The M-Sport Ford driver edged Andreas Mikkelsen to fourth position in the rally, and second position in the Power Stage.

Mikkelsen had been quick on the final day, taking his Hyundai through Special Stage 16 with the fastest time before being second-fastest to Neuville on SS17.

Esapekka Lappi’s Toyota suffered a puncture on SS16 which saw the Finn drop from sixth to eighth.

He stayed in that position until the end of the rally behind Elfyn Evans (M-Sport Ford) and Kris Meeke (Citroen), the latter of whom took the final Power Stage point.

Teemu Suninen (M-Sport Ford) finished ninth overall and Pontus Tidemand (Skoda Motorsport) 10th.

Tidemand took WRC 2 honours when team-mate Kalle Rovanpera crashed on the penultimate stage.

Round 6 is Rally de Portugal on May 17-20.

Highlights: Stages 16 and 17

Rally Argentina: Results (Top 10)

Pos Num Driver Nat Team Car   Time/Gap
1 8 Ott Tanak EST Toyota Gazoo Yaris WRC 3:43:28.9
2 5 Thierry Neuville BEL Hyundai i20 WRC +37.7
3 6 Dani Sordo ESP Hyundai i20 WRC +1:15.7
4 1 Sebastien Ogier FRA M-Sport Ford Fiesta WRC +1:58.6
5 4 Andreas Mikkelsen NOR Hyundai i20 WRC +2:02.6
6 2 Elfyn Evans GBR M-Sport Ford Fiesta WRC +3:06.3
7 10 Kris Meeke GBR Citroen C3 WRC +3:25.7
8 9 Esapekka Lappi FIN Toyota Gazoo Yaris WRC +4:32.6
9 3 Teemu Suninen FIN M-Sport Ford Fiesta WRC +5:38.6
10 31 Pontus Tidemand SWE Skoda Fabia R5 WRC2 +12:15.8

Rally Argentina: Power Stage (Bonus points)

Pos Num Driver Nat Team Car Time/Gap Bonus
1 5 Thierry Neuville BEL Hyundai i20 WRC 13:00.8 5
2 1 Sebastien Ogier FRA M-Sport Ford Fiesta WRC +0.4 4
3 4 Andreas Mikkelsen NOR Hyundai i20 WRC +0.6 3
4 8 Ott Tanak EST Toyota Gazoo Yaris WRC +3.2 2
5 10 Kris Meeke GBR Citroen C3 WRC +3.7 1

Drivers’ championship

Pos Driver Nat Pts
1 Sebastien Ogier FRA 100
2 Thierry Neuville BEL 90
3 Ott Tanak EST 72
4 Andreas Mikkelsen NOR 54
5 Dani Sordo ESP 45
6 Kris Meeke GBR 43
7 Esapekka Lappi FIN 40
8 Jari-Matti Latvala FIN 31
9 Elfyn Evans GBR 26
10 Craig Breen IRL 20
11 Sebastien Loeb FRA 15
12 Hayden Paddon NZL 10
13 Mads Ostberg NOR 8
14 Pontus Tidemand SWE 7
15 Teemu Suninen FIN 6
16 Jan Kopecky CZE 5
17 Bryan Bouffier FRA 4
18 Gus Greensmith GBR 2
19 Pedro Heller CHI 1
20 Yoann Bonato FRA 1

Manufacturers’ championship

Pos Team Pts
1 Hyundai WRT 144
2 M-Sport Ford WRT 129
3 Toyota Gazoo Racing 124
4 Citroen WRT 93

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