WRC: turkey

Toy­ota Ga­zoo rac­ing driver Ott Tä­nak emerges vic­to­ri­ous in Turkey, mak­ing it three in a row and shoot­ing straight to sec­ond in the cham­pi­onship

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

WRC re­turned to Turkey af­ter eight long years and it was Toy­ota Ga­zoo Rac­ing’s Es­to­nian rally ace, Ott Tä­nak, who emerged vic­to­ri­ous as mighty he­roes like Thierry Neuville of Hyundai and Se­bastien Ogier fell in the gravel early in this event.

The first 10 stages were full of ex­cite­ment as the lead kept chang­ing sev­eral times be­fore An­drea Mikkelsen of Hyundai Shell Mo­bis WRT took it on SS4 and con­tin­ued in that po­si­tion for the next three stages. How­ever, on stage seven, Mikkelsen’s team­mate and cham­pi­onship leader, Thierry Neuville, took the lead on the last stage on Fri­day.

Un­for­tu­nately, Neuville’s Hyundai i20 suf­fered from bro­ken sus­pen­sion in the open­ing stage on Satur­day, which forced the Bel­gian out. This gave Ogier the op­por­tu­nity to slip into the lead on SS8. By now, Tä­nak, who had been out of the top five, had climbed to fourth place by the end of SS8. With Neuville out of con­tention, Ogier con­tin­ued to lead for an­other stage be­fore Mikkelsen re­took the lead on SS10, with Tä­nak now run­ning in sec­ond, ahead of his team-mate, Jari-Matti Lat­vala, who was in third place. On SS11, Ogier crashed out and Tä­nak slipped into the lead with Lat­vala just 11 sec­onds be­hind him by the end of SS11.

Hyundai had some rea­son to re­joice as their sec­ond driver, Hayden Pad­don, man­aged to slip into third place and stay there right till the end. How­ever, Toy­ota Ga­zoo Rac­ing WRT had more than one rea­son to cel­e­brate as both their driv­ers dom­i­nated the sec­ond half of the rally with Tä­nak even­tu­ally win­ning the gravel event by an im­pres­sive 22.3 sec­onds.

Tä­nak’s win el­e­vated him to sec­ond in the cham­pi­onship stand­ings, with just 13 points sep­a­rat­ing him from Neuville. Lat­vala fin­ished sec­ond, rock­et­ing Toy­ota to the top of the man­u­fac­tur­ers’ ti­tle. Ogier, who un­til now was the main ti­tle ri­val for Neuville, man­aged to fin­ish 10th thanks to his team-mate, El­fyn Evans, who de­lib­er­ately gave up a po­si­tion to ac­com­mo­date Ogier.

The cham­pi­onship is still open and with just three rounds to go, it will be ex­cit­ing to watch a three-way bat­tle among Toy­ota, Hyundai, and M-Sport Ford.

( Above) Toy­ota Ga­zoo Rac­ing and Tä­nak dom­i­nate over Turk­ish gravel

( Belowleft) It was ju­bi­la­tion for Tä­nak and Järveoja

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