WRC – Tänak carries lead into final stages

WRC – Tänak carries lead into final stages

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WRC – Tänak carries lead into final stages

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Ott Tänak takes a 21.4 second lead into the closing stages of Rallye Deutschland on Sunday, the Estonian on fine form and on track to scoop his second FIA World Rally Championship victory of the season. Behind him, however, the battle for second will be thrilling between Andreas Mikkelsen and Sébastien Ogier, the rivals split by 8.2 seconds with 52 kilometres of competition remaining.

Saturday’s afternoon loop of stages was almost identical to those of this morning, kicking off with two runs through the short Panzerplatte stage where Rally 2 contender Dani Sordo set the pace. Tänak has again performed faultlessly and while he has dropped a couple of seconds the Estonian has enjoyed the conditions and looks comfortable to take the win in the Fiesta WRC. Mikkelsen, in only his third rally for Citroën and first on asphalt, felt he had finally mastered the daunting Panzerplatte stage and is enjoying the fight. The Norwegian is confident he can maintain position tomorrow but is all too aware of the potential fight ahead, despite Ogier claiming he won’t risk everything for second place. The Frenchman was fastest in SS16, amazingly his first stage win since Rally de Portugal in May, but dropped a couple of seconds to Mikkelsen in the final test with some small mistakes. 

Behind the leading trio Elfyn Evans has climbed into fourth at the expense of a charging Juho Hänninen who carried a broken damper through three of the five stages. Even so, the leading Toyota driver only dropped 4.2 seconds behind Evans and will surely be fighting hard to regain the position tomorrow. Craig Breen maintains sixth, an overshoot into a field his only mistake this afternoon and he too has the potential to be in the mix with Evans and Hänninen. Jari-Matti Latvala has had another frustrating few stages; he had a puncture in the long Panzerplatte stage and then sustained some damage to the Yaris when he brushed the bushes in the final stage. Too far adrift of Breen, the Finn will now doubtless be targeting top Power Stage points on Sunday. After Thierry Neuville was forced out after the first stage, Hayden Paddon flies the flag for Hyundai. The Kiwi has enjoyed today’s stages, despite this not being his preferred surface.

In the FIA WRC 2 Championship, Eric Camilli has moved into the lead, benefitting when asphalt ace Jan Kopecky had to stop and change a puncture. He heads the Czech driver by over a minute with Pontus Tidemand third in the category and within sight of the Championship title. Local driver Julius Tannert continues to top the Junior standings and the German now has an enormous lead over series leader Nil Solans.

The only leading retirement of the day was Kris Meeke, the Northern Irish driver out this afternoon with an unconfirmed mechanical problem.

Rallye Deutschland – Provisional results after Section 5

1.   Ott Tänak / Martin Järveoja

Ford Fiesta WRC

2hr 31min 32.2sec

2.   Andreas Mikkelsen / Anders Jæger

Citroën C3 WRC

2hr 31min 53.6sec

3.   Sébastien Ogier / Julien Ingrassia

Ford Fiesta WRC

2hr 32min 01.8sec

4.   Elfyn Evans / Daniel Barritt

Ford Fiesta WRC

2hr 33min 20.5sec

5.   Juho Hänninen / Kaj Lindström

Toyota Yaris WRC

2hr 33min 24.7sec

6.   Craig Breen / Scott Martin

Citroën C3 WRC

2hr 33min 38.9sec

7.   Jari-Matti Latvala / Miikka Anttila

Toyota Yaris WRC

2hr 35min 37.1sec

8.   Hayden Paddon / Sebastian Marshall

Hyundai i20 WRC

2hr 36min 03.5sec

9.   Eric Camilli / Benjamin Veillas

Ford Fiesta R5

2hr 40min 14.1sec

10. Armin Kremer / Pirmin Winklhofer

Ford Fiesta WRC

2hr 40min 26.7sec

World Rally Championship

Rallye DeutschlandWRCWRCWRC, Rallye Deutschland, motorsport, FIASEASON 2017SportRallies1SportWorld Rally ChampionshipRalliesWRCSEASON 2017Rallye DeutschlandWRC01Saturday, August 19, 2017 – 8:28pmSaturday, August 19, 2017 – 8:28pm

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