Tänak wins in Chile

Estonian claims second win of 2019

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By Olivier Ferret

12 May 2019 - 19:22
Tänak wins in Chile

SS13: Loeb threatens Ogier’s position

Sébastien Loeb put world champion Sébastien Ogier’s second place under extreme threat in Sunday morning’s opening speed test at Copec Rally Chile.

Loeb was 4.0sec faster than fellow Frenchman Ogier through the wet, slippery and foggy Bio Bió special stage. He cut the gap between the pair to just 1.1sec with three more stages remaining in this sixth round of the FIA World Rally Championship.

It was a demanding opening to the third and final leg for all and Loeb, driving a Hyundai i20 on gravel roads for the first time in Chile, said it wasn’t the most comfortable start to the day.

“Not a perfect stage for me. The grip was changing all the time and it was difficult to find a rhythm and be 100 per cent confident. I made some mistakes. It was difficult to do a perfect stage in these conditions,” said Loeb.

Ogier appeared powerless to repel Loeb. “I can’t do more. I tried my best. I give everything I have so we’ll see what happens,” said the Citroën C3 driver.

Rally leader Ott Tänak was sixth fastest in his Toyota Yaris as his advantage slipped back below the half minute mark to 29.8sec.

“It wasn’t easy, there was a lot of loose mud and it was quite slippery and foggy at the beginning. It’s a tough morning and I hope it gets better,” said the Estonian, chasing his second victory of the season.

Kris Meeke edged Toyota Gazoo team-mate Jari-Matti Latvala to win the stage by 0.4sec. It enabled the Briton to close to within 3.8sec of ninth-placed Mads Østberg in his bid to climb the order following yesterday’s morning roll.

SS14-15: änak leads, Ogier and Loeb’s battle for second place goes down to the wire

Toyota’s Ott Tänak continues to lead the FIA World Rally Championship order on Rally Chile by 21.8s but all eyes were on the two most successful FIA WRC drivers of all-time, Citroën’s Sébastien Ogier and Hyundai’s Sébastien Loeb. Their battle over second place is going down to the wire on the Bio Bio Power Stage, with only 4.6s separating them.

It was a 45.86 kilometre loop of three brand new stages this morning to challenge the FIA WRC crews, starting off with Bio Bio, which will be run again to finish the rally as the Power Stage. Many drivers compared the roads to that of Wales Rally GB, featuring narrow lanes and low grip with no margin for error.

With an advantage of over half a minute, Tänak took a secured approach on Sunday morning and conceded almost 10 seconds to his two French rivals behind. Both were on full attack for the runners-up spot, with Loeb taking the initiative by going four seconds faster on Bio Bio.
But Ogier gave an immediate response on the next stage, delivering an impressive performance with his Citroën C3 WRC at full speed through the narrow roads of Lircay, and went fastest by 4.2s from Loeb, cancelling his time loss from the previous stage. Loeb fought back with a stage win on San Nicolás but could only gain 0.7s on his compatriot.

Elfyn Evans settled down into fourth place, choosing to secure vital points for himself and his M-Sport Ford team rather than trying to join the battle with Loeb and Ogier. His team-mate Teemu Suninen is well behind him in fifth place. He conceded only 0.3s across the first three stages to Citroën’s Esapekka Lappi and keeps a 10s advantage heading to the Power Stage.

Andreas Mikkelsen’s gap to Lappi nearly doubled this morning, falling from around 30s to over a minute after the first three stages.

Škoda’s Kalle Rovanperä still has a solid 27.8s advantage over Citroën’s Mads Østberg in the WRC 2 Pro class for R5-specifications vehicles. Rovanperä also holds eighth overall but has Toyota’s Kris Meeke only 5.2s behind him, who is climbing back up after his roll on Saturday morning. Østberg completes the top 10 overall.

It was a heartbreak for local fans in the FIA WRC 2 category as Chilean hero Alberto Heller, who had been battling out with Japan’s Takamoto Katsuta for the lead throughout the rally, crashed out of second place on Lircay and retired. Katsuta now has nearly three minutes in hand over Mexico’s Benito Guerra.

After SS16: Tänak wins in Chile

Ott Tänak secured his second victory of the FIA World Rally Championship season at the inauagural Copec Rally Chile on Sunday afternoon.

The Estonian led for all but one of the 16 speed tests in a Toyota Yaris to win the sixth round of the year by 23.1sec.

Sébastien Ogier, driving a Citroën C3, fended off fellow Frenchman and nine-time world champion Sébastien Loeb to finish second after a furious final day fight. Ogier headed the Hyundai i20 driver by 7.1sec to regain the championship lead.

Tänak won the live TV Wolf Power Stage to claim five bonus points. Ogier scored four in second with Jari-Matti Latvala, driving a Yaris, claiming three points in third. Loeb and Kris Meeke, in another Yaris, took two and one point respectively.

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