Tanak eyes world title after Rally of Germany win - GulfToday

Tanak eyes world title after Rally of Germany win

Tanak eyes world title after Rally of Germany win

Ott Tanak from Estonia kisses the trophy on the podium after winning the Rallye Germany in Neunkrichen on Sunday. Agence France-Presse

Trier: Ott Tanak won his third consecutive ADAC Rallye Deutschland on Sunday afternoon to take another huge stride towards a maiden FIA World Rally Championship title.

He survived a late scare to claim his fourth victory in five rounds, leading Toyota to its first clean sweep of the podium since 1993 and the first in the WRC since this rally four years ago.

Brake problems on his Toyota Yaris in the penultimate speed test forced Tanak to drive cautiously through the closing Wolf Power Stage. But he had enough in hand to head Kris Meeke by 20.8sec with Jari-Matti Latvala a further 15.2sec behind.

The Estonian extended his championship lead to 33 points with four rounds remaining. His Toyota Gazoo Racing squad closed to within eight points of leaders Hyundai Shell Mobis in the manufacturers’ standings after its 1-2-3 finish.

The four-day encounter was fought out on bumpy vineyard tracks in the Mosel, gruelling multi-surface tank training roads and smooth country lanes in the Saarland countryside.

Tanak gained control yesterday afternoon after a thrilling duel with title rival Thierry Neuville came to a premature end when the Belgian stopped to change a puncture on his Hyundai i20.

He admitted he had mixed feelings after being unable to attack for bonus points in the final test.

“We started to have some issues in the previous stage so I couldn’t push. We only had one brake at the front. I’m not really happy about that but we’re here and I am happy about that. The team has missed out on a 1-2-3 a few times so it is good to do that finally,” he said.

Dani Sordo purposely booked in late at the finish control to enable teammate Thierry Neuville to claim fourth.

Meeke and Latvala eased through the final leg among the Mosel grapes, content to hold their positions and guarantee a stellar result for the Japanese manufacturer.

Dani Sordo completed the stages in fourth, but the Spaniard sacrificed the place when he incurred a penalty by leaving the final service late to allow team-mate Neuville to move up from fifth and collect more championship points.

There were more team tactics behind. Esapekka Lappi was sixth, but adopted the same strategy as Sordo to enable Citroen C3 team leader Sebastien Ogier to climb from eighth to seventh. Lappi dropped two places and Andreas Mikkelsen also profited as he inherited sixth.

Ogier and Lappi both struggled with major understeer and world champion Ogier now trails Tanak by 40 points and Neuville by seven. Gus Greensmith and Takamoto Katsuta completed the top 10.

The championship reverts to gravel next month for Rally Turkey, which takes place in Marmaris Sept.12-15.