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SS4: Tanak avoids the rain in Portugal

Deluge delays leader Latvala as young Estonian shines


By www.wrc.com

29 March 2012 - 23:53
SS4: Tanak avoids the rain in (...)

Ott Tanak has claimed his first stage victory on a gravel round of the FIA World Rally Championship powered by Nokia with a sensational performance through Friday’s final Ourique stage.

The young Estonian was 1.4s quicker than Mikko Hirvonen, who was running one position ahead of him on the road in first place. Tanak is now 10.7s behind Hirvonen in the battle for the final podium spot.

“I didn’t push everything but I think it was okay,” said Tanak, who is driving an M-Sport Ford World Rally Team Fiesta RS WRC. “It was tricky because I have not done these stages in a World Rally Car before.”

Jari-Matti Latvala continues to lead Vodafone Rally de Portugal but he could only manage the fourth quickest time, 7.3s adrift of Tanak’s effort due to the onset of heavy rain during his run.

“The end of the stage was quite good but we were losing some time in the beginning when it was really slippery,” said Latvala.

Thierry Neuville was third fastest for the Citroen Junior World Rally Team. Latvala’s Ford team-mate Petter Solberg was fifth quickest 9.4s behind Tanak. Jari Ketomaa completed the top six in his Autotek Fiesta.

“It was very wet from the start, very slippery,” said Solberg. “I had a half spin - it was so muddy in some places , just slipping basically.”

Crews are now heading to Algarve for a 45-minute service halt. Friday’s action begins with stage five, the 25.01-kilometre Tavira test at 12:01hrs local time.

1. J. LATVALA 25m04.6s
2. P. SOLBERG +2.6
3. M. HIRVONEN +5.0
4. O. TÄNAK +15.7
5. T. NEUVILLE +34.0
6. M. ØSTBERG +53.3
7. E. NOVIKOV +1:02.9
8. J. KETOMAA +1:15.0
9. H. PADDON +1:39.6
10. D. KUIPERS +1:47.1
11. P. SANDELL +1:54.2
12. N. AL ATTIYAH +1:57.0
13. C. BREEN +2:04.2
14. S. OGIER +2:09.7
15. P. VAN MERKSTEIJN (JR) +2:31.6
16. D. OLIVEIRA +2:46.2
17. Y. AL RAJHI +2:57.7
18. M. PROKOP +4:23.0
19. F. AHLIN +4:24.0
20. B. REEVES +4:24.5


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