WRC: Tanak wins Rally Wales GB over title rivals to extend points lead
Toyota's Ott Tanak with Martin Jarveoja took FIA World Rally Championship (WRC) win in Rally Wales GB to extend his points lead over his rivals.
The WRC points leader Tanak in his Toyota Yaris led the way on Friday in Rally Wales GB with wins in SS3, SS4, SS9 and SS10. The Estonian only took the lead in the day's final stage from teammate Kris Meeke (co-driver Sebastian Marshall).
The Brit started his home rally well with win in SS1 and steadied his charge but a late spin after overshooting a hairpin dropped him not only behind Tanak but also his title rival, Citroen Racing's Sebastien Ogier (co-driver Julien Ingrassia).
The Frenchman kept himself in contention with wins in SS6 and SS7 but Tanak's consistency took the better of him despite a late problem with his lights in tricky conditions with persistent rain falling on the mountains.
Meeke was third still ahead of Hyundai's Thierry Neuville (co-driver Nicolas Gilsoul), with the Belgian winning SS8, to lead Hyundai teammates Andreas Mikkelsen (co-driver Anders Jaeger-Amland) and Craig Breen (co-driver Paul Nagle).
Despite winning SS2 and SS5, M-Sport's Elfyn Evans (co-driver Scott Martin) was only eighth in his Ford Fiesta behind teammate Teemu Suninen (co-driver Jarmo Lehtinen). It wasn't a close shave for Toyota's Jari-Matti Latvala (co-driver Miikka Anttila).
The Finn rolled over heavily and wasn't to re-start on Saturday due to heavy damage, while Citroen's Esapekka Lappi (co-driver Janne Ferm) also had a crash. Meanwhile, Toyota's Tanak continued his charge on Saturday despite the sole win in SS17.
The Estonian put consistent times to keep his lead as Hyundai's Neuville's strong run helped him to be second as Citroen's Ogier mixed run dropped him to third. The former won in SS14 and S15 with the latter getting nothing.
Toyota's Meeke dropped another place to fourth as Hyundai's Mikkelsen was fifth with SS15 win. A strong run from M-Sport's Evans with wins in SS11, SS12 and SS13 helped him to be sixth ahead of teammate Suninen and Pontus Tidemand (co-driver Ola Floene).
Hyundai's Breen dropped to ninth after a roll during the day as Citroen's Lappi rejoined the rally and was 28th overall. With SS20 cancelled, Tanak steadied his car on Sunday to win SS18 as well as the Power Stage (SS22) to secure his sixth win of 2019 season.
His Rally Wales GB win has helped him extend his WRC points lead to 28 now over Ogier as Neuville is a further 13 behind. The Belgian did finish second from Ogier in Great Britain as Meeke was fourth ahead of Evans, who jumped to fifth after wins in SS19 and SS21.
Hyundai's Mikkelsen dropped to sixth with M-Sport's Tidemand in seventh from Hyundai's Breen after retirement for M-Sport's Suninen. Citroen's Lappi finished 27th overall eventually.
[Note: This story was also written by me on FormulaRapida.net]