TOYOTA GAZOO RACING POWER TO POINTS AND A PODIUM ON RALLY FRANCE
Ott Tänak claimed his second podium finish of the season on the Tour de Corse, the French round of the FIA World Rally Championship, on Sunday. Team-mate Esapekka Lappi just missed out on a top-three finish for the Toyota Gazoo Racing World Rally Team.
Lappi’s hopes were dashed by a puncture on the final day, but he recovered to win the Power Stage – his fourth stage win of the challenging all-asphalt event. The points from Rally France move Toyota up to third in the manufacturers’ championship, with Tänak also third in the drivers’ standings.
He said: “Corsica has always been the event which I maybe enjoy the least: I have really struggled here in the past. This year I worked really hard to be consistently on the pace. We were never pushing to the maximum but we were always setting a good rhythm.”
Friday’s opening day of action had seen Tänak rise to fourth place with consistently quick times, just ahead of Lappi, who posted a win on the final stage. Jari Matti Latvala was also in contention in the third Yaris WRC in eighth.
Fine-tuning their cars’ set-up for the second day saw the Toyota drivers maintain their speed, with Lappi quicker than anyone else in the field across the schedule of six special stages. He was never out of the top three fastest times, was the winner on stage eight and shared the fastest time with Tänak on stage 10. Tänak himself took honours on stage seven, maintaining his record of stage wins in every rally since joining the team at the start of the year. Latvala’s hopes were dashed after clipping a tree on the eighth test and damaging his car’s roll cage.
Team Principal Tommi Mäkinen said: “I think our whole team can be very satisfied at the end of this rally. Ott has achieved a really good result, while I feel sorry for Esapekka, who had an excellent drive yesterday and a podium would have made it even better.”
Round five of the WRC will be Rally Argentina, from 26 to 29 April. Some stages take place on high-speed soft and sandy roads in the valleys, while others are run on rocky mountain tracks. The softer stages are prone to becoming heavily rutted as more cars pass over them, while fog and even ice can sometimes be found in the mountain sections, with weather conditions often changeable.
FINAL RESULT, RALLY FRANCE (TOUR DE CORSE)
1 Sebastien Ogier/Julien Ingrassia (Ford Fiesta WRC) 3h26m52.7s
2 Ott Tänak/Martin Järveoja (Toyota Yaris WRC) +36.1s
3 Thierry Neuville/Nicolas Gilsoul (Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC) +1m07.5s
4 Dani Sordo/Carlos del Barrio (Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC) +2m02.6s
5 Elfyn Evans/Phil Mills (Ford Fiesta WRC) +2m06.1s
6 Esapekka Lappi/Janne Ferm (Toyota Yaris WRC) +2m33.5s
7 Andreas Mikkelsen/Anders Jaeger (Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC) +2m43.4s
8 Jan Kopecky/Pavel Dresler (Skoda Fabia R5) +10m34.8s
9 Kris Meeke/Paul Nagle (Citroen C3 WRC) +10m40.5s
10 Yoann Bonato/Benjamin Boulloud (Citroen C3 R5) +12m26.0s
Retired Jari-Matti Latvala/Miikka Anttila (Toyota Yaris WRC)