Arctic WRC: Hyundai’s Tanak dominates as Ogier retires

Day two of the Arctic Rally, the second round of the World Rally Championship, came to a close with Hyundai’s Ott Tanak sitting serenely atop the standings going into the quick-fire final day.

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The Estonian’s teammate Thierry Neuville posted an electrifying time on the final stage of the day, 12.3 seconds faster than Tanak, to close within 2s of the Toyota’s Kalle Rovanpera, who holds second place overall.

Three stages were run in morning loop and in repeated the afternoon, with a service at the midway point. Tyre wear and preserving the Pirelli studded rubber was the major preoccupation for most teams, with drivers finding that their front end grip fell off a cliff through the course of the day.

Tanak won two stages in the morning and went fastest again on the first stage of the after the service, then settled into a rhythm and protected his tyres while Rovanpera and Neuville battled it out.

“All to plan: the tyres are quite tired so it was important to get here without any mistakes, so it’s all good” said leader Tanak.

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Irishman Craig Breen in the third Hyundai holds fourth place but was left frustrated as he fell back from the podium battle by half a minute. Breen remains 10s in front of Elfyn Evans’s Toyota, as the Welshman battled a less-than-favourable road position, as did his teammate and defending champion Sebastien Ogier close behind.

Ogier had suffered worst from sweeping the stages at the front of the field on Friday, which left him continuing to act as sweeper for Saturday’s stages and falling more than a minute behind the leaders. Ogier then went off 50 metres from the end of the final stage and lost so much time that the team has elected to retire the car, allowing his team more time in order to try and maximise his setup for the points-scoring Power Stage on Sunday.

 

Ogier’s misfortune allowed teenage sensation Oliver Solberg up into sixth place overall in his first appearance at the wheel of a full WRC car for Hyundai. The Toyota of Takamoto Katsuta and the M-Sport Fords of Teemu Suninen and Gus Greensmith round out the top category.

Tenth place overall and top of the WRC2 category falls to Esapekka Lappi’s Volkswagen, with a 50s advantage over the Skoda of Andreas Mikkelsen.

Just one stage remains on the Arctic Rally, the 22.47 km Aittajarvi test, which will be run twice, with the second pass acting as Power Stage with points on offer to the five fastest cars.

Cla Driver/Codriver Car Total Time Gap Interval
1 Estonia Ott Tanak
Estonia Martin Jarveoja
Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC 1:43'32.100    
2 Finland Kalle Rovanperä
Finland Jonne Halttunen
Toyota Yaris WRC 1:43'56.200 24.100 24.100
3 Belgium Thierry Neuville
Belgium Martijn Wydaeghe
Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC 1:43'58.000 25.900 1.800
4 Ireland Craig Breen
Ireland Paul Nagle
Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC 1:44'25.500 53.400 27.500
5 United Kingdom Elfyn Evans
United Kingdom Scott Martin
Toyota Yaris WRC 1:44'35.600 1'03.500 10.100
6 Norway Oliver Solberg
United Kingdom Sebastian Marshall
Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC 1:44'58.900 1'26.800 23.300
7 Japan Takamoto Katsuta
United Kingdom Daniel Barritt
Toyota Yaris WRC 1:45'06.500 1'34.400 7.600
8 Finland Teemu Suninen
Finland Mikko Markkula
Ford Fiesta WRC 1:45'21.400 1'49.300 14.900
9 United Kingdom Gus Greensmith
United Kingdom Elliott Edmondson
Ford Fiesta WRC 1:46'33.900 3'01.800 1'12.500
10 Finland Esapekka Lappi
Finland Janne Ferm
Volkswagen Polo GTI R5 1:48'20.900 4'48.800 1'47.000

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Arctic WRC: Tanak extends lead with double stage wins
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