Ott Tanak cleans up in Rally Sweden

Ott Tanak

Ott Tanak has moved into the World Rally Championship lead by taking maximum points in Rally Sweden as Sebastien Ogier suffered after getting stuck in a snowbank.

Tanak’s competitors gradually fell by the wayside, putting the Toyota Gazoo driver nearly a minute up on the field heading into the final day.

He went on to win the Power Stage and collect the maximum 30 points from the event, leaving him seven clear of Hyundai’s Thierry Neuville at the top of the standings.

“We have had a very good weekend,” declared Tanak.

“Friday was a key moment where we had to get through to minimise the time loss in the conditions, but after this we just drove with a good rhythm and as little risk as possible.

“Today it was about saving the tyres for the Power Stage and to give it a big push. We had a very good run and everything was working really well, so I was really comfortable in the car.”

Ogier dropped from the top of the championship to third when he drifted wide and ended up stuck in a snowbank on Friday’s second run through Svullrya.

The Citroen driver returned under Rally2 rules the following day and while he subsequently won three stages, all he could salvage from the event was two Power Stage points.

Jari-Matti Latvala and Teemu Suninen both challenged Tanak during Friday, and even led the rally.

Latvala, however, put his Toyota in a snowbank during the final stage of the day and while he was able to extricate himself, the error cost the Finn nearly 25 minutes and he leaves Sweden emptyhanded.

Suninen had in fact led a WRC event for the first time, an advantage which he took into Saturday, but he lost time in a snowbank two stages in before spinning his M-Sport Ford into a tree later in the day and finished the event 23rd outright.

Citroen’s Esapekka Lappi ultimately finished second by 48.8s, just 3.0s up on Neuville with the second of the Hyundai drivers in Andreas Mikkelsen not far behind them.

Lappi, who grabbed one Power Stage point, had started the final day tied for second with Mikkelsen and Neuville only 2.3s behind.

Neuville bagged four Power Stage points while M-Sport Ford’s Elfyn Evans, who finished fifth outright, collected three points on the final stage.

Kris Meeke took sixth in his Toyota while Sebastien Loeb was a little too conservative in his Hyundai as he ended the event in seventh.

Former world champion Marcus Gronholm’s cameo appearance came to an early end when he put his WRC-spec Toyota Yaris into a snowbank on Friday.

Non-Pro competitor Ole Christian Veiby claimed WRC2 honours in ninth outright in his Volkswagen Polo R5, almost two minutes ahead of WRC2Pro winner Mads Ostberg in a Citroen R5.

Round 3 is Rally Mexico on March 7-10.

Rally Sweden: Results (Top 10)

Pos Num Driver Team Elig Grp cls Time/Gap
1 8 O. TÄNAK Toyota Gazoo Racing WRT M RC1 2:47:30.0
2 4 E. LAPPI Citroen Total WRT M RC1 +53.7
3 11 T. NEUVILLE Hyundai Shell Mobis WRT M RC1 +56.7
4 89 A. MIKKELSEN Hyundai Shell Mobis WRT M RC1 +1:05.4
5 33 E. EVANS M-Sport Ford World Rally Team M RC1 +1:08.2
6 5 K. MEEKE Toyota Gazoo Racing WRT M RC1 +1:38.8
7 19 S. LOEB Hyundai Shell Mobis WRT M RC1 +1:49.7
8 7 P. TIDEMAND M-Sport Ford World Rally Team M RC1 +3:37.7
9 42 O. VEIBY Ole Christian Veiby WRC2 RC2 +6:34.0
10 92 J. TUOHINO Janne Tuohino None RC1 +8:21.4

Rally Sweden: Power Stage (Bonus points)

Pos Num Driver Team Time/Gap Bonus
1 8 Ott TÄNAK Toyota Gazoo Racing WRT 5:15.1 5
2 11 Thierry NEUVILLE Hyundai Shell Mobis WRT +3.5 4
3 33 Elfyn EVANS M-Sport Ford World Rally Team +4.4 3
4 1 Sébastien OGIER M-Sport Ford World Rally Team +4.6 2
5 4 Esapekka LAPPI Citroen Total WRT +4.9 1

Drivers’ championship

Pos Driver Nat Pts
1 Ott TÄNAK EST 47
2 Thierry NEUVILLE BEL 40
3 Sébastien OGIER FRA 31
4 Kris MEEKE GBR 21
5 Esapekka LAPPI FIN 19
6 Sébastien LOEB FRA 18
7 Elfyn EVANS GBR 13
8 Andreas MIKKELSEN NOR 12
9 Jari-Matti LATVALA FIN 10
11 Pontus TIDEMAND SWE 4
12 Yoann BONATO FRA 4
13 Stéphane SARRAZIN FRA 2
14 Ole Christian VEIBY NOR 2
15 Teemu SUNINEN FIN 1
16 Adrien FOURMAUX FRA 1
17 Janne TUOHINO FIN 1
18 Guillaume DE MEVIUS BEL 0
20 Lorenzo BERTELLI ITA 0
21 Marcus GRÖNHOLM FIN 0

Manufacturers’ championship

Pos Team Pts
1 Toyota Gazoo Racing WRT 58
2 Hyundai Shell Mobis WRT 57
3 Citroen Total WRT 47
4 M-Sport Ford World Rally Team 30

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