Argentina WRC: Tanak opens up lead after Mikkelsen puncture

Toyota's Ott Tanak stormed into a 22.7-second Rally Argentina lead with a dominant performance on Friday afternoon as morning leader Andreas Mikkelsen lost time due to a puncture.

Having spent the morning charging from ninth to second following an early mistake, Tanak quickly deposed Mikkelsen from first place on the super special that preceded the lunchtime service.

Tanak then went quickest on all three of the afternoon's full-length stages with a pace the rest of the field could not match, despite being third in the running order on roads where the dust-clearing effect had a significant impact.

Mikkelsen's challenge for victory went awry immediately after he lost the lead, as a puncture on the next stage Las Bajadas dropped him to eighth.

It also left the Hyundai driver without a spare tyre for the rest of the day and he was only able to regain one spot before the end of the leg.

Kris Meeke therefore moved up into second place for Citroen, and currently holds the position with a six-second margin over battling Hyundai drivers Thierry Neuville and Dani Sordo.

The teammates swapped places through the afternoon and will begin Saturday just 0.9s apart.

Running first on the road hampered points leader Sebastien Ogier and he slid back to fifth place through the loop, with Craig Breen closing on him in the second Citroen.

Esapekka Lappi and Teemu Suninen also sustained punctures during the afternoon and are eighth and 10th, sandwiching an off-the-pace Elfyn Evans.

Jari-Matti Latvala's hopes of restarting for Saturday after his morning suspension breakage have been dashed as Toyota discovered there was also damage to the car's engine oil lubrication system.

Standings after SS8

Pos. Driver Car Time/Gap
 Ott Tanak Toyota 1h30m38.6s
 Kris Meeke Citroen 22.7s
 Thierry Neuville Hyundai 28.6s
 Dani Sordo Hyundai 29.5s
 Sebastien Ogier M-Sport Ford 36.4s
 Craig Breen Citroen 41.2s
 Andreas Mikkelsen Hyundai 58.5s
 Esapekka Lappi Toyota 1m07.9s
 Elfyn Evans M-Sport Ford 1m10.3s
10   Teemu Suninen M-Sport Ford 1m33.7s
Write a comment
Show comments
About this article
Series WRC
Event Rally Argentina
Sub-event Day 1
Drivers Ott Tanak
Teams M-Sport
Article type Leg report