WRC: Fin­land

Car India - - CONTENTS - Re­port: Ravi Chand­nani Pho­tog­ra­phy: DPPI

Toy­ota Ga­zoo Rac­ing WRT’s Ott Tä­nak dom­i­nates Rally Fin­land to claim his sec­ond win of the sea­son

t was an ex­cit­ing Rally Fin­land for Toy­ota Ga­zoo Rac­ing as their Es­to­nian rally ace, Ott Tä­nak, stormed to vic­tory in style after be­ing highly com­pet­i­tive dur­ing this eighth rally of the sea­son.

The week­end got un­der way with an in­tense duel be­tween Tä­nak and Mads Øst­berg of Citroën To­tal Abu Dhabi WRT. Both locked horns dur­ing the early stages of the rally, fre­quently ex­chang­ing places with each pass­ing stage. By SS9, how­ever, Tä­nak got into the lead and de­fended his po­si­tion quite well, end­ing the Fri­day with a 5.8-sec­ond lead.

On Satur­day, the Es­to­nian driver was able to in­crease his lead be­cause of his con­sis­tent pace and flaw­less driv­ing style. Tä­nak con­cluded Satur­day with a com­fort­able lead of 39 sec­onds. Mads Øst­berg, who had chal­lenged Ott on Fri­day, man­aged to hold on to sec­ond spot de­spite a tough chal­lenge from Tä­nak’s team-mate and lo­cal hero, Jar­iMatti Lat­vala, who ended the day just 5.9 sec­onds be­hind Mads.

On the last day, Tä­nak drove quite con­ser­va­tively, pre­serv­ing his car while main­tain­ing his lead. This saw the Es­to­nian driver claim his fourth over­all WRC ca­reer vic­tory and his sec­ond of the 2018 sea­son. This has put Tä­nak in a strong po­si­tion for the cham­pi­onship lead be­cause he is just 46 points be­hind Hyundai’s Neuville and 25 points be­hind Sébastien Ogier, who is cur­rently in sec­ond place.

With Tä­nak emerg­ing vic­to­ri­ous in Rally Fin­land and cham­pi­onship fron­trun­ners fin­ish­ing way down the or­der, it was Mads Øst­berg of Citroën who took P2 after a tough fight with the Fin­nish rally driver, Jari-Matti Lat­vala, who gave lo­cal fans a rea­son to cel­e­brate by fin­ish­ing third in his home rally.

Apart from the ac­tion around the Mclass of WRC, Rally Fin­land also wit­nessed two In­dian par­tic­i­pants: for­mer APRC cham­pion Gau­rav Gill and In­dian ral­ly­ist San­jay Takale. Both the driv­ers have tremen­dous ral­ly­ing ex­pe­ri­ence and, thanks to their per­for­mance in in­ter­na­tional events, both were able to rep­re­sent In­dia at the pin­na­cle of rally rac­ing in the world. Gau­rav Gill, who has a long as­so­ci­a­tion with MRF, was driv­ing for Team MRF Tyres and was able to fin­ish 30th over­all in a Ford Fi­esta R5 rally car.

Team MRF Tyres en­tered the big league of WRC when they par­tic­i­pated in the WRC-2 cat­e­gory at the Ital­ian Rally. The team fin­ished among the top 10 in Italy and posted im­pres­sive re­sults in Fin­land, too, show­cas­ing the team’s years of ex­per­tise in ral­ly­ing.

San­jay Takale, who drove a Ford Fi­esta with co-drive Dar­ren Gar­rod, also did In­dia proud by fin­ish­ing 47th over­all in the WRC-3 cat­e­gory. This re­sult might not look as in­ter­est­ing as Gill’s; how­ever, it is not bad ei­ther con­sid­er­ing that it was San­jay Takale first time in WRC.

We wish both our he­roes and their teams the very best in their WRC en­deav­our.

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