SS11-12: Tänak pulls clear
Estonian makes the most of Mikkelsen mistakes
Ott Tänak extended his slender overnight lead at ADAC Rallye Deutschland to almost half a minute on Saturday morning.
He left the two Panzerplatte military road speed tests with a 15.3sec advantage over Andreas Mikkelsen. He was then fastest over Freisen’s slippery country lanes to widen the margin to more than 25sec as two mistakes cost the Norwegian dearly.
Mikkelsen bounced back to top the times in the cleaner and drier Romerstraße, but Tänak returned to mid-leg service in Bostalsee with a 23.0sec lead in his Ford Fiesta.
“If the roads were pure Tarmac it would be really enjoyable to drive them. When they are as dirty as this, it’s not easy. It’s tough, but we have a good feeling in the car,” he explained.
Mikkelsen conceded more than 10sec in Freisen after first spinning and then stalling his Citroën C3’s engine within 200 metres. “It’s a bit of a shame but the next stage was OK and I’m not giving up the fight,” he said.
His errors allowed Sébastien Ogier to close to within 6.9sec in his Fiesta. The Frenchman set top three times in both tests and had a comfortable 46.4sec margin over a frustrated Elfyn Evans.
The Welshman, who was distracted in Panzerplatte when co-driver Dan Barritt’s door flew opened, spun early in Freisen. His Fiesta sported minor damage at the rear right courtesy of Craig Breen, who nudged it with his C3 as he moved past before the start!
Juho Hänninen was just 0.8sec behind after an impressive morning in his Toyota Yaris. The Finn, who won the long Panzerplatte stage, stretched the gap to Breen to 36.8sec after the Irishman overshot into a field in both Freisen and Romerstraße.
Jari-Matti Latvala was angry with himself after running wide into a Freisen field. The Finn, who had no handbrake in his Yaris, was seventh, over two minutes clear of Hayden Paddon.
The Kiwi benefited from clean roads at the front of the start order to post third fastest time in Freisen and second in Romerstraße. WRC 2 leader Jan Kopecký and Eric Camilli completed the leaderboard.
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