TANAK AND TOYOTA CLAIM THIRD SUCCESSIVE RALLY FINLAND VICTORY
Ott Tänak clinched victory on Rally Finland yesterday (4 August), claiming his third win in four World Rally Championship outings and maintaining his lead in the driver’s title race. His success was also the third successive win for Toyota Gazoo Racing World Rally Team on their “home” event.
Jari-Matti Latvala also made it to the podium, in third place, but Ulsterman Kris Meeke was forced into retirement, having been part of a three-way Toyota battle for the lead.
Tänak was delighted with the hard-won victory: “This is a perfect result to begin the second part of the season and a great boost for the whole team. Now we need to keep pushing. I focused on having a clean run with no mistakes and we were able to get maximum points.”
The young Estonian, guided by co-driver Martin Järveoja, moved into the lead on Saturday, following an intense battle with his team-mates. Going into Sunday’s final day, he extended his lead to 16.4 seconds and maintained his exceptional pace. He took a further win on the closing Power Stage, outpacing his nearest rival by 0.7 seconds to claim the maximum 30 points from the event. This gives him a lead of 22 points in the driver’s championship over Sébastien Ogier.
Latvala and co-driver Mikka Anttila claimed eight stage wins en route to their first podium finish of the year. Their success helped Toyota close the gap at the top of the manufacturer’s championship to 24 points.
Kris Meeke had fought with team-mates Tänak and Latvala for the rally lead until he retired Saturday morning after damaging his car’s suspension. He restarted the event on Sunday, but had to stop again in the penultimate stage after hitting a rock on the inside of a bend and breaking his car’s front-left corner.
Next stop for the team is Rallye Deutschland, taking place from 22 to 25 August. True to tradition, this is in effect three rallies in one, requiring the drivers to negotiate very different driving environments on each day: twisting roads through the Mosel vineyards, tough stges through the Baumholder military area and fast country lanes in the Saarland. The differing road surfaces and often changeable weather conditions make tyre choice critical.
FINAL RESULT, RALLY FINLAND
1 Ott Tänak/Martin Järveoja (Toyota Yaris WRC) 2h30m40.3s
2 Esapekka Lappi/Janne Ferm (Citroën C3 WRC) +25.6s
3 Jari-Matti Latvala/Miikka Anttila (Toyota Yaris WRC) +33.2s
4 Andreas Mikkelsen/Anders Jaeger-Amland (Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC) +53.4s
5 Sebastien Ogier/Julien Ingrassia (Citroën C3 WRC) +56.1s
6 Thierry Neuville/Nicolas Gilsoul (Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC) +1m32.4s
7 Craig Breen/Paul Nagle (Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC) +1m38.2s
8 Teemu Suninen/Jarmo Lehtinen (Ford Fiesta WRC) +2m33.8s
9 Kalle Rovanpera/Jonne Halttunen (Skoda Fabia R5 Evo) +7m54.1s
10 Nikolay Gryazin/Yaroslav Federov (Skoda Fabia R5) +10m28.7s
Retired Kris Meeke/Seb Marshall (Toyota Yaris WRC)