Monte Carlo WRC: Tanak cuts into Ogier's lead

Ott Tanak hacked a third out of Sebastien Ogier’s Saturday morning Monte Carlo Rally advantage to get the gap at the top down to 39.5 seconds.

Monte Carlo WRC: Tanak cuts into Ogier's lead
Ott Tanak, Toyota Gazoo Racing
Ott Tanak, Martin Järveoja, Toyota Yaris WRC, Toyota Gazoo Racing
Sébastien Ogier, Julien Ingrassia, Ford Fiesta WRC, M-Sport Ford
Rally Monte Carlo logo
Sébastien Ogier, Julien Ingrassia, Ford Fiesta WRC, M-Sport Ford
Sébastien Ogier, Julien Ingrassia, Ford Fiesta WRC, M-Sport Ford
Jari-Matti Latvala, Miikka Anttila, Toyota Yaris WRC, Toyota Gazoo Racing
Kris Meeke, Paul Nagle, Citroën C3 WRC, Citroën World Rally Team

Tanak dropped back from Ogier dramatically at the start of the day with what he claimed was a damper problem, and was more than a minute behind going into the second running of the morning’s pair of stages at the start of the afternoon.

With reigning World Rally champion Ogier in conservation mode, Tanak bested his 2017 teammate by 15.3s to win SS11.

The Toyota driver was then second-fastest through SS12 as Ogier dropped another 8.6s to his pursuer in sixth.

However, with only five stages remaining, Ogier’s lead is still a healthy one.

A near-perfect Monte Carlo Rally from the trio of Toyota drivers took a small hit when Esapekka Lappi effectively ended his podium chances with a self-induced puncture on SS11.

Jari-Matti Latvala now holds a three-minute advantage in third, with Kris Meeke fourth.

Lappi ran wide into a snow bank while challenging teammate Latvala for third, and though he got going swiftly, he then had to stop to change a tyre.

That has dropped him to fifth behind Meeke, although the gap is a mere 6.2s after the Citroen driver had to perform a quick U-turn in a field on SS11 and then lost at least 10 seconds on SS12 when he locked up and nudged a snow bank.

Elfyn Evans is on the periphery of the fight for fourth, 23.8s behind Lappi, after two solid stages that the Welshman was not particularly pleased with.

His M-Sport teammate Bouffier is seventh, but only 12.2s clear of Hyundai’s Thierry Neuville.

The i20 WRC driver won SS12 to recover from a nightmare SS11 that featured three offs, and included backing his car into a bank of snow and shooting into the same field as Meeke.

Instead of performing a U-turn, Neuville gunned it across the field and rejoined the road over a bank – the same strategy employed by Tanak, who also went off at the same corner, minutes later on his way to the stage’s best time.

WRC2 leader Jan Kopecky heads his class by 3m40.6s from young gun Kalle Rovanpera after Ghislain de Mevius hit trouble.

 

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