Sweden, SS1: Tänak leads in Sweden
Toyota claims 1-2 in curtain-raiser
Ott Tänak was the early leader of Rally Sweden after edging Toyota Gazoo Racing team-mate Jari-Matti Latvala in Thursday night’s opening speed test at Karlstad trotting track.
The Estonian, driving a Yaris, defeated Thierry Neuville in their head-to-head heat on snow and ice-covered roads and stopped the clocks 0.3sec faster than Latvala.
“This is one of my favourite events and especially this year because there’s so much snow,” Tänak said. “I enjoyed that stage a lot. More snow is possible tonight but whatever happens we’ll push hard tomorrow. Tomorrow is key for us, if we can manage that then the rest of the weekend will be more enjoyable."
Finn Latvala beat Mads Østberg in their duel by 0.3sec, the Norwegian impressing on his Citroën C3 debut to hold third as competitors headed north to Torsby for an overnight halt.
Kris Meeke, driving another C3, and Hyundai i20 pilot Andreas Mikkelsen were tied in fourth, a further 0.3sec adrift. Neuville completed the top six in another i20.
Toyota’s Esapekka Lappi and championship leader Sébastien Ogier lost time after sliding wide on the same corner near the finish. They were eighth and ninth respectively but just 2.9sec covered the top 10.
Tomorrow mixes stages in the snowy forests of Sweden and Norway. Two identical loops of three tests are followed by a final stage at Torsby. It adds up to 140.10km of competitive action.
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