Wales WRC: Tanak pulls away, Ogier charges to second
World Rally Championship title hopeful Ott Tanak has extended his Rally GB lead after the Saturday morning stages, while Sebastien Ogier continued to jump up the order.
Across the five stages Tanak drew out another 15 seconds at the top of the times as he hunts a fourth consecutive WRC victory.
Out of Tanak, Ogier and Thierry Neuville, the three drivers battling for the title, the former was on the softest tyre compound and took advantage of the extra grip.
Ogier turned his rally on its head over a 24-hour period. Come Friday’s first service he sat eighth, but having climbed to fifth last night he was fastest on the day’s opening stage to move third.
That came at the expense of Tanak’s Toyota teammates Jari-Matti Latvala and Eapekka Lappi – the latter surprised at his lack of pace after what he felt were strong runs.
M-Sport driver Ogier then moved into second, 48s off Tanak, after a difficult day for Neuville.
The Hyundai driver – who led the championship by 13 points over Tanak ahead of the rally – was left to rue both a driver and strategic error that dropped him down to ninth, behind his two Hyundai teammates.
On SS11 he lost the rear end of his i20, costing him around 50s as he waited for spectators to free his car from a ditch. His woes were compounded on the final three stages where he ran slowest, regretting his choice to run the harder tyres.
Behind Latvala and Lappi, Craig Breen was the fastest Citroen in fifth. In all but the last of the morning stages he set a top-four time and now holds a 13-second advantage over teammate Mads Ostberg.
Neuville sits behind his Hyundai stablemates Hayden Paddon and Andreas Mikkelsen respectively, only 10 seconds separating the three.
After retiring from second overall with a persistent misfire on Friday, last year’s Rally GB winner Elfyn Evans resumed running but failed to recreate his promising pace.
Skoda Fabia driver Kalle Rovanpera rounds out the top 10 overall after an impressive display, heading the WRC2 class as his lead over Pontus Tidemand hovers around the one-minute mark.
Ott Tänak, Martin Järveoja, Toyota Gazoo Racing WRT Toyota Yaris WRC
Photo by: McKlein / LAT Images
Neuville loses ground to WRC rivals after mistake
Tanak retires from Rally GB, Ogier takes over lead