Finsko 2019 je v cíli. Zlato pro Tanaka.
Tänak in charge after furious Rally Finland fight
Estonian driver Ott Tänak led Neste Rally Finland on Saturday night.
Ott Tänak led Neste Rally Finland on Saturday night after a rogue rock ruined an incredible three-way fight for supremacy at the FIA World Rally Championship’s fastest round.
The series leader completed the penultimate leg of the four-day event with a 16.4sec advantage in his Toyota Yaris over Esapekka Lappi. Tänak’s team-mate, Jari-Matti Latvala, trailed the Citroën C3 driver by 12.4sec in third.
Finland’s fast and furious Friday turned into a super speed Saturday as just six-tenths of a second blanketed leader Latvala, Tänak and the third Yaris of Kris Meeke this morning as Toyota Gazoo Racing controlled this ninth round of the season.
It all went wrong in the blisteringly fast Kakaristo special stage where Latvala punctured his rear left tyre and Meeke retired with broken rear left suspension after both struck the same rock shortly before the midpoint.
“It happened on a small road at a right corner,” said Latvala. “There was concrete there last year so I had my note.
“They had removed the concrete so I made my note a bit faster and that was my mistake. I went a little bit into the ditch but there was a stone the size of a head there.”
Finn Latvala, who had lost and then regained his overnight lead from Tänak over the previous two tests, dropped more than 14sec. The Estonian’s advantage was sufficient to be able to moderate his pace over the afternoon’s heavily rutted sections.
“It’s been a good clean day for us. It started with quite a big push but this afternoon has been a clean run. It’s nice to have some breathing space. Yesterday and this morning the time gaps were all 0.something,” said Tänak, who won three stages.
Lappi, who appeared to be dropping away from the lead fight this morning, upped his speed this afternoon. He won two tests to overhaul Latvala for second, his rival aware he could not afford further mistakes in Toyota’s quest for the manufacturers’ title.
While one battle ended, the fight for fourth intensified. Andreas Mikkelsen, Hyundai i20 team-mate Craig Breen and champion Sébastien Ogier, who had been up all night with sickness, swapped places on virtually every stage.
Each enjoyed a spell at the head of the trio but as the rally returned to Jyväskylä after almost 133km of relentless action, Mikkelsen headed Ogier by 2.6sec, with Breen 6.0sec back.
Two runs of Laukaa (11.75km) and the big jumps of Ruuhimäki (11.12km) decide the rally on Sunday over 45.74km. The second pass of Ruuhimäki forms the Wolf Power Stage, with bonus points for the fastest five drivers.
Sébastien Ogier, Citroën Total WRT driver
“I'm pleased that it’s over because I was running really low on energy this afternoon. I can't wait to get to bed, to be honest. I had to really push myself all day so I'm glad to have made it through the leg without making any mistakes because it was sometimes very difficult to keep up the concentration. Tomorrow will be another day and I hope that I will be able to recover sufficiently tonight so that I can do myself justice and fight all the way to the finish.”
Esapekka Lappi, Citroën Total WRT driver
“Obviously, it's been a very positive day for us! After what happened in the morning loop, I was expecting to suffer on the second runs on these wide and fast stages, but I really went for it and it has worked out pretty well for me so far. We found the right balance to push without overdriving the stages or drifting outside of the lines. I’m going to continue at the same pace tomorrow and am absolutely determined to secure the result.”
Leading positions after leg 2:
1. O Tänak / M Järveoja EST Toyota Yaris 2hr 08min 49.4sec
2. E Lappi / J Ferm FIN Citroën C3 +16.4sec
3. J-M Latvala / M Anttila FIN Toyota Yaris +28.8sec
4. A Mikkelsen / A Jaeger-Amland NOR Hyundai i20 +50.5sec
5. S Ogier / J Ingrassia FRA Citroën C3 +53.1sec
6. C Breen / P Nagle IRL Hyundai i20 +59.1sec
7Suninen / Lehtinen (Ford Fiesta WRC) +2:05.3
8. Greensmith / Edmondson (Ford Fiesta WRC) +4:09.7
1. O Tänak / M Järveoja EST Toyota Yaris 2hr 30min 40.3sec
2. E Lappi / J Ferm FIN Citroën C3 +25.6sec
3. J-M Latvala / M Anttila FIN Toyota Yaris +33.2sec
4. A Mikkelsen / A Jaeger NOR Hyundai i20 +53.4sec
5. S Ogier / J Ingrassia FRA Citroën C3 +56.1sec
6. T Neuville / N Gilsoul BEL Hyundai i20 +1min 32.4sec
FIA World Rally Championship (after round 9 of 14)
1. O Tänak 180pts
2. S Ogier 158pts
3. T Neuville 155pts
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