Rally GB: Tanak leads after first stages, WRC title rivals lose out

Ott Tanak leads Rally GB after Friday's morning stages as he seeks a fourth World Rally Championship win in a row

Rally GB: Tanak leads after first stages, WRC title rivals lose out

Tanak crushed his opposition by taking three stage wins in a succession at the start of the day.

He took victory on the longest stage - Brenig - ahead of Elfyn Evans, while his championship rivals Sebastien Ogier and Thierry Neuville were 7.3 seconds and 15s adrift respectively.

Ogier and Neuville then hit trouble on the following stage.

A gearbox problem that meant he lost first and second gear meant Ogier spun twice, while Hyundai's Neuville lost around a second by overshooting the corner of a junction.

Neuville would hit back on the two short Slate Mountain runs - which featured heavy rain, fog and loose stones - winning the first stage to claw time back on Tanak.

While Tanak's eventual Friday morning lead was 8.9s after a more conservative run on Slate Mountain, Ogier fell further away from his two title competitors.

He finished the first run more than three seconds slower than Neuville and Tanak, and last of all the WRC runners, and then lost further time on the second Slate Mountain run to fall to eighth overall.

The M-Sport Ford driver, who called his morning a "disaster", heads to the service park for repairs 27.9s behind Tanak's leading time.

Neuville is three places higher than Ogier in the overall order, as he currently lies fifth and is 21.8s off the lead.

Evans, the 2017 Rally GB winner, finished the morning loop in second place overall after proving to be the only driver able to get within three seconds of Tanak on the Brenig stage.

Evans could potentially have gone faster if not for some flashing lights on the dashboard of his Ford that he explained were a distraction but just a false alarm.

Toyota's Jari-Matti Latvala put some pressure on Evans by finishing a close second to Tanak on the fourth stage, Penmanchno, and followed that result with two strong Slate Mountain runs, winning the second attempt to trail Evans by 6.5s in third overall.

Teemu Suninen was fourth ahead of Neuville, with the struggling Esapekka Lappi recovering from a lack of confidence in his Toyota to haul it into seventh behind Craig Breen (Citroen C3).

Citroen's Mads Ostberg was ninth behind Ogier, with Hayden Paddon rounding out the top 10 ahead of Andreas Mikkelsen.

Several drivers complained of understeer and changeable grip through the early stages, with Latvala suggesting that pre-event testing had not matched the rally's conditions.

Rising star Kalle Rovanpera stunned the WRC2 field with a Brenig run that was 23.7s faster than the second-quickest car on the stage, which was driven by Tom Cave.

Rovanpera holds a comfortable margin of 37.9s over Skoda's Pontus Tidemand heading into the Friday afternoon's action.

Leading positions after SS6

Pos Driver Team Car Gap
1 Ott Tanak, M.Jarveoja Toyota Gazoo Racing WRT Toyota 35m13.4s
2 Elfyn Evans, D.Barritt M-Sport Ford WRT Ford 8.9s
3 Jari-Matti Latvala, M.Anttila Toyota Gazoo Racing WRT Toyota 15.4s
4 Teemu Suninen, M.Markkula M-Sport Ford WRT Ford 21.5s
5 Thierry Neuville, N.Gilsoul Hyundai Shell Mobis WRT Hyundai 21.8s
6 Craig Breen, S.Martin Citroen Total Abu Dhabi WRT Citroen 22.9s
7 Esapekka Lappi, J.Ferm Toyota Gazoo Racing WRT Toyota 25.4s
8 Sebastien Ogier, J.Ingrassia M-Sport Ford WRT Ford 27.9s
9 Mads Ostberg, T.Eriksen Citroen Total Abu Dhabi WRT Citroen 31.3s
10 Hayden Paddon, S.Marshall Hyundai Shell Mobis WRT Hyundai 32.9s


shares
comments
WRC Rally GB: Toyota's Lappi takes early lead on Thursday night

Previous article

WRC Rally GB: Toyota's Lappi takes early lead on Thursday night

Next article

Rally GB: 2017 winner Evans forced to retire with suspected misfire

Rally GB: 2017 winner Evans forced to retire with suspected misfire
Load comments

About this article

Series WRC
Drivers Ott Tanak
Author Tom Errington
Why the casualty of rallying's evolution should still be cherished Plus

Why the casualty of rallying's evolution should still be cherished

The WRC's support categories are in a process of streamlining that will spell the end of a formalised 2WD world championship-level category. While its relevance to the top level has been questioned for some time, that doesn't mean it should be swept quietly under the carpet

WRC
Apr 5, 2021
Why WRC's hybrid path could leave it at a crossroads Plus

Why WRC's hybrid path could leave it at a crossroads

With all three major manufacturers committing to the World Rally Championship’s hybrid era from 2022, the future of the series is assured for now, but it could lead to trickier twists and turns further down the road

WRC
Apr 1, 2021
How Tanak froze out the competition at the Arctic Rally Plus

How Tanak froze out the competition at the Arctic Rally

Ott Tanak made up for a disastrous Monte Carlo Rally by leading all the way on the snow-kissed stages of the Arctic Rally Finland and in the process hit back at an event Toyota had been expected to dominate

WRC
Mar 1, 2021
What to expect from the WRC's venture to the Arctic Plus

What to expect from the WRC's venture to the Arctic

This week's Arctic Rally Finland will bring the World Rally Championship into new territory. And, almost without exception, the service park can't wait for the subzero challenge to commence

WRC
Feb 25, 2021
How Ogier achieved a fitting Monte Carlo farewell Plus

How Ogier achieved a fitting Monte Carlo farewell

Against pandemic-shaped odds, the World Rally Championship season opener went ahead in Monte Carlo last weekend as a familiar face again took top spot. But for an emotional Sebastien Ogier, his record-breaking eighth win meant more than most

WRC
Jan 25, 2021
What to look out for in the 2021 WRC Plus

What to look out for in the 2021 WRC

As the 2021 World Rally Championship prepares to launch amid tight COVID-19 restrictions in Monte Carlo, here are the eight things unrelated to the pandemic that you should keep an eye on this year

WRC
Jan 21, 2021
Evans on the talking points of WRC 2021 Plus

Evans on the talking points of WRC 2021

He came close to the title last year, and now Toyota's Elfyn Evans gives his verdict on what to expect from 2021 as the World Rally Championship prepares to reconvene for the Monte Carlo season opener

WRC
Jan 20, 2021
Why Britain's continued WRC absence is a wake-up call Plus

Why Britain's continued WRC absence is a wake-up call

OPINION: With Rally GB dropping off the World Rally Championship calendar for the second year in a row, one of Britain's best-attended sporting events faces an uncertain future. It's an unfortunate situation that points to troubling times ahead

WRC
Jan 12, 2021