Germany WRC: Tanak extends lead from Ogier, Neuville

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Germany WRC: Tanak extends lead from Ogier, Neuville
By: Tom Errington
Aug 17, 2018, 11:46 AM

Toyota driver Ott Tanak starred ahead of World Rally Championship title contenders Sebastien Ogier and Thierry Neuville to extend his Rally Germany lead.

Tanak had led the rally overnight following Thursday's superspecial stage but fell behind Ogier after the M-Sport driver narrowly beat his rival by 0.8s on the morning's stage to edge ahead.

Ogier held a one-second lead to Tanak, who was squeezed into third by Neuville on the same stage, but the gap was obliterated when the Rally Finland winner blitzed Ogier by 5s through Mittelmosel's 13-mile run.

Tanak had previously claimed to be "learning" how to drive in Rally Germany's stages and said he was struggling with stability in the high-speed sections.

But he did not relent in the final stage of the morning loop, again winning the contest and pulling several seconds on Ogier to hold a lead of 7.2s going into the afternoon loop.

Ogier narrowly beat Neuville in each of the three morning stages to hold a lead of 3.7s on the Hyundai driver, who leads his title rival by 22 points going into the rally.

Neuville's day could have been significantly worse as he stopped his Hyundai on the way to the fourth stage with an oil leak, suspected to be from a pipe related to the turbo.

He was unaffected in the final stage ahead of a service inspection.

Esapekka Lappi finished the morning loop in fourth after admitting the increasing amount of dust on the tarmac was making him "afraid" to push the limits of his Toyota, having been engaged in a close fought battle with Dani Sordo in fifth.

A strong run through Miitelmosel that was rewarded with the fourth fastest time pushed Elfyn Evans into sixth in the overall classification and a buffer of over 10s back to Andreas Mikkelsen.

Mikkelsen was the slowest Hyundai driver in the morning as he struggled to extract performance from the car and had to adapt his driving style to be "more aggressive on the steering wheel."

Citroen endured a difficult Friday morning as it battled against the dust left behind those running higher up the order and Mads Ostberg's and Craig Breen's tarmac inexperience showed.

Breen ended the loop in ninth after getting caught in a freak heavy rain shower, edging out Ostberg by over 4s.

 
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Germany WRC: Tanak edges further clear of Ogier

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About this article

Series WRC
Event Rally Germany
Drivers Ott Tanak
Teams Toyota Racing
Author Tom Errington
Article type Stage report