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.