Chile WRC: Tanak leads Ogier, Latvala forced to retire
Ott Tanak continues to lead his WRC rivals on Rally Chile, though his Toyota teammate Jari-Matti Latvala retired from third with technical issues on Saturday’s final stage.
Second-placed Sebastien Ogier gained 4.3s on Tanak over the afternoon loop by taking a different tyre strategy from the rest of the field. Ogier used a pair of medium tyres to good effect by winning SS10, while everyone else had taken a full complement of hards.
Though Tanak responded with a stage win on Maria Las Cruces, Ogier was still quicker than Tanak on the final stage of the day, as rain and fog intensified as each car passed through the Pelun test. The pair are now separated by 30.3s with four stages on Sunday remaining.
Latvala had been close behind Ogier in third place after regaining 12.5s from a notional time awarded for SS7 earlier in the day, having been held up by teammate Kris Meeke who had rolled.
But instead of challenging for second, Latvala was being chased down by Sebastien Loeb, who was the best-placed Hyundai after Thierry Neuville’s roll this morning.
Latvala’s rally then ended on Pelun, his Toyota Yaris WRC grinding to a halt with a suspected hydraulic gearshift failure.
That promoted Loeb to third, who managed to take 11s out of Ogier by running earlier on the road and avoiding the rain and fog which hindered his compatriot, reducing the overall gap to 5.1s.
Elfyn Evans is up to fourth place but progressively fell away from Loeb during Saturday, finishing the day half a minute behind after being as little as 11.1s off Loeb after SS8 this morning.
His M-Sport teammate Teemu Suninen is locked in a battle for fifth place with Esapekka Lappi.
Suninen initially pulled away by beating the Citroen driver by nearly 10s on Rio Lia, only for his hard work to be undone on Pelun by dropping slightly over 10s to Lappi, resetting the gap to 10.3s.
Now well behind sixth-placed Lappi is Hyundai's Andreas Mikkelsen, who took a very steady approach and finished half a minute adrift of the second Toyota in seventh.
WRC2 leader Kalle Rovanpera is eighth for Skoda, 36.1s up on works Citroen driver Mads Ostberg.
Meeke is back in a points-paying position thanks to Latvala’s demise on Pelun, moving up to 10th in his recovery drive from rolling on the morning pass of Rio Lia.
Only 12.6s separate Meeke and Ostberg, who is driving a less powerful R5 specification car.
Standings after SS12:
|1||8|| Ott Tanak |
|Toyota Yaris WRC||2:41'05.5|
|2||1|| Sébastien Ogier |
|Citroën C3 WRC||2:41'35.8||30.3|
|3||19|| Sébastien Loeb |
|Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC||2:41'40.9||35.4|
|4||33|| Elfyn Evans |
|Ford Fiesta WRC||2:42'11.8||1'06.3|
|5||3|| Teemu Suninen |
|Ford Fiesta WRC||2:44'08.5||3'03.0|
|6||4|| Esapekka Lappi |
|Citroën C3 WRC||2:44'18.8||3'13.3|
|7||89|| Andreas Mikkelsen |
|Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC||2:44'48.9||3'43.4|
|8||22|| Kalle Rovanperä |
|Škoda Fabia R5||2:47'38.7||6'33.2|
|View full results|
Hyundai feared Neuville had broken leg in vicious crash
Chile WRC: Tanak wraps up victory, Ogier takes points lead