Germany WRC: Tanak pulls small gap over Neuville
WRC points leader Ott Tanak continues to lead Rally Germany for Toyota as Hyundai’s Thierry Neuville was left to rue a minor mistake on Saturday morning’s second stage.
Neuville had chopped 1.3 seconds out of Tanak on the first run of Freisen to trim the Toyota driver’s overall advantage to 1.5s, but he overcooked his entry and stalled into a hairpin on the proceeding Romerstrasse test.
He dropped 6.7s to Tanak who won the stage when a stubborn fuse delayed him further when trying to restart the Hyundai.
Neuville nicked 0.2s back on the repeat of Freisen and another 1.5s on Romerstrasse 2 to trail Tanak by 5s heading into the afternoon.
Battling with understeer on Friday, Sebastien Ogier remains third with Kris Meeke 3.7s in arrears in the second of the Toyotas.
Teammate Jari-Matti Latvala is close too, just 4.2s behind in fifth, while Andreas Mikkelsen holds a solid sixth place for Hyundai.
Esapekka Lappi had been plugging away at Mikkelsen’s advantage, but dropped the rear of his Citroen into a ditch on Freisen 2. Spectators came to his aid, allowed Lappi to escape, but the error allowed Dani Sordo to take seventh.
Sordo was fastest on Freisen 1 and is just 9.9s behind Mikkelsen, with Lappi only 1.8s behind.
M-Sport Ford driver Gus Greensmith dropped from eighth to 10th but slipped backwards when he slid off the road and clipped a tree on Saturday’s opener, losing three minutes.
That means Takamoto Katsuta is into the top 10 in ninth place on his first world championship event in a Toyota Yaris WRC.
Skoda’s Kalle Rovanpera was on course for a fifth consecutive WRC2 Pro victory, but on the first run of Freisen he slid wide and beached his Fabia R5 before spectators helped wrestle him free. The Finn's teammate Jan Kopecky now leads the class in 11th overall.
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