How Tanak triumphed amid a series of Belgium WRC blunders
After runaway World Rally Championship leader Kalle Rovanpera made his first major mistake of the season, the chance to take advantage was wide open for the chasing pack. Several of his rivals faltered to grasp the opportunity, but Ott Tanak made no such mistake and demonstrated his class with a third win of the campaign
At times it felt like nobody wanted to win Ypres Rally Belgium, such was the attrition on the World Rally Championship’s latest asphalt instalment and the rate at which the leaders fell by the wayside. That was until Hyundai’s Ott Tanak inherited the lead following an unceremonious exit for home hero, team-mate and odds-on favourite Thierry Neuville. Few would have predicted Tanak to star in Neuville’s back yard, but the Estonian appears to have unearthed the form that helped guide him to the 2019 world title to deliver a second surprise win on the bounce.
Ypres has developed a reputation of providing one of the toughest asphalt tests in rallying thanks to its narrow ribbons of road, lined by perilous deep ditches that cut across the fields of the Flanders region – once home to battles of a very different kind. This grim moment in history was respected by the WRC drivers, who lay wreaths to pay tribute to the fallen at Ypres’s famous Menin Gate World War I memorial before the rally began.
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