WRC Rally Finland: Tanak charges with clean sweep of stage wins – WRC

Ott Tanak took charge of Rally Finland with a clean sweep of Saturday morning stage wins for the Toyota World Rally team.

On Friday Tanak had amazed rivals by emerging with a 5.4-second lead over Mads Ostberg’s Citroen despite his third place in the start order giving him some of the worst stage conditions.

Eleventh on the road for Saturday, Tanak stretched his legs and dominated – setting the fastest time on all four of the first loop’s stages and pulling 23.7s clear.

Though unable to match Tanak, Ostberg has still been faster than everyone else and is a comfortable 20.9s ahead of Tanak’s third-placed team-mate Jari-Matti Latvala.

The third Toyota of Esapekka Lappi charged up the order from eighth to fifth during the morning.

He had ended Friday on the tail of M-Sport Ford team-mates Sebastien Ogier and Elfyn Evans, and quickly leapfrogged both when the rally resumed.

Lappi then hunted down the other Ford of Teemu Suninen and grabbed fifth from his fellow Finn on the loop’s final stage. His next target Hayden Paddon is 13.6s ahead in fourth.

All three M-Sport drivers were unhappy with their cars on Saturday morning, with Ogier admitting he was making constant set-up changes as he tried to get the best out of the new aero package fitted to his Ford only.

He briefly fell behind Evans but was back in front of his team-mate into seventh by the time they headed for service.

Ogier is still three places ahead of his WRC title rival Thierry Neuville, who has made no progress from the distant 10th position his Friday error left him in.

Neuville had an immediate blow when Citroen’s third driver Khalid Al-Qassimi crashed out early on the day’s opening stage while running first on the road.

That meant Neuville only had Hyundai team-mate Andreas Mikkelsen – still among the WRC2 cars in the standings after his Friday error – cleaning the road ahead of him.

The championship leader has lost time to ninth-placed Craig Breen throughout the morning, with that gap now up to 44.4s.

Leading positions after SS15

Pos Driver Team Car Gap
1 Ott Tanak, M.Jarveoja Toyota Gazoo Racing WRT Toyota 1h38m54.0s
2 Mads Ostberg, T.Eriksen Citroen Total Abu Dhabi WRT Citroen 23.7s
3 Jari-Matti Latvala, M.Anttila Toyota Gazoo Racing WRT Toyota 44.6s
4 Hayden Paddon, S.Marshall Hyundai Shell Mobis WRT Hyundai 1m16.5s
5 Esapekka Lappi, J.Ferm Toyota Gazoo Racing WRT Toyota 1m30.1s
6 Teemu Suninen, M.Markkula M-Sport Ford WRT Ford 1m33.8s
7 Sebastien Ogier, J.Ingrassia M-Sport Ford WRT Ford 1m52.7s
8 Elfyn Evans, D.Barritt M-Sport Ford WRT Ford 1m54.6s
9 Craig Breen, S.Martin Citroen Total Abu Dhabi WRT Citroen 2m24.8s
10 Thierry Neuville, N.Gilsoul Hyundai Shell Mobis WRT Hyundai 3m09.2s

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