Germany WRC: Tanak tops opening Thursday superspecial
Ott Tanak was fastest on Rally Germany's opening superspecial, which for a long time looked like it would again by topped by WRC2 driver Jan Kopecky.
Last year tarmac specialist Kopecky stunned the WRC field by leading outright in Germany following SS1, and the Skoda driver appeared set to repeat that feat as a string of factory World Rally Car drivers failed to beat his 2m11.8s time.
But Kopecky was eventually pipped by Dani Sordo's Hyundai and then Toyota driver Tanak beat both to take the early rally lead.
Tanak, dominant winner of the previous WRC round in Finland, felt the St Wendel stage was one of the worst and tightest superspecials he had ever experienced but ended it 0.4 seconds ahead of Sordo and 0.6s up on Kopecky.
Championship leader Thierry Neuville was a relaxed eighth fastest, 2s off Tanak's pace.
Neuville's title rival Sebastien Ogier headed for service four places ahead in fourth, with Andreas Mikkelsen, Craig Breen and Esapekka Lappi between them.
Jari-Matti Latvala was only eighth in the remaining Toyota having clipped a hay bale and then briefly stopped.
Mads Ostberg brought up the rear of the WRC field and reported a lack of power in his Citroen.
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Germany WRC: Tanak extends lead from Ogier, Neuville