Subscribe

Sign up for free

  • Get quick access to your favorite articles

  • Manage alerts on breaking news and favorite drivers

  • Make your voice heard with article commenting.

Motorsport prime

Discover premium content
Subscribe

Edition

Global Global
Race report
WRC Rally Italy

WRC Rally Sardinia: Tanak snatches stunning win from Ogier in final stage thriller

Ott Tanak has snatched victory from Sebastien Ogier in a grandstand finish to claim a stunning World Rally Championship triumph in Sardinia.

Hyundai’s Tanak and co-driver Martin Jarveoja were involved in rally-long battle with Toyota’s Ogier and Vincent Landais, as the WRC trialled a new shorter 48-hour format for the first time on Sardinia’s rough gravel roads.

Tanak put Ogier under pressure through Sunday’s four stages overhauling a 17.1s to snatch a stunning win by 0.2s in the final stage, after Ogier suffered a final stage puncture.

It is the joint-closest finish for the win in WRC history, matching the 2011 Jordan Rally when Ogier beat Jari-Matti Latvala.

Hyundai’s part-time driver Dani Sordo survived 16 attritional stages to complete the podium [+2m25.6], his first rostrum since last September’s Acropolis Rally.

Two stage wins from Friday’s new-look four-stage itinerary helped Ogier into 4.5s lead over Tanak heading into an eventful and long Saturday, comprising of 149 stage kilometres.

Ogier suffered a puncture on the opening test which briefly handed the lead to Tanak by 0.1s. After electing to take only one spare Ogier was forced to be careful on the brutal rocky roads where the puncture risk was high.

However, a fastest time on the next test put Ogier back in the lead, but it was short-lived as Tanak responded to lead by 3.5s at the end of the morning.

Sébastien Ogier, Vincent Landais, Toyota Gazoo Racing WRT Toyota GR Yaris Rally1

Sébastien Ogier, Vincent Landais, Toyota Gazoo Racing WRT Toyota GR Yaris Rally1

Photo by: Toyota Racing

Ogier reclaimed the lead in the afternoon which coincided with Tanak revealing that his Hyundai team had asked him to “be safe and not push”. The Hyundai team judged the extra risk required to continue to challenge for the win was too much, after losing Thierry Neuville as he crashed from third place on stage eight.

The team instruction coupled with a drop in confidence behind the wheel of his i20 N helped Ogier into a 17.1s lead. But come Sunday Tanak unleashed a charge motivated by Super Sunday points to push Ogier all the way before eclipsing the 6.2s deficit in a dramatic final stage.

As a result, Tanak has moved to joint-second in the championship with Elfyn Evans, 18 points behind Neuville.

Sordo enjoyed solid run and climbed the leaderboard to third after Neuville and Toyota’s Takamoto Katsuta retired on Saturday. Katsuta had inherited third after Neuville lost concentration for a fraction and careered off the road, while Katsuta dropped out with a gearbox issue.

Title contender Evans finished fourth [+2m37.8s] after struggling all rally. It began with a puncture on Friday, but a lack of a confidence in his Toyota left him unable to match the pace at the front.

The frustrated Welshman was able to salvage fourth on Saturday, to take 10 points, and picked up eight points on Sunday for finishing third in the Sunday standings and third on the Power Stage.

After impressing to sit third on Saturday after opening the road on Friday, championship leader Neuville recovered brilliantly to score the maximum 12 Sunday points following his costly Saturday exit. The Belgian topped the Sunday standings to take seven points and won the Power Stage to grab another five points.

M-Sport’s Gregoire Munster recorded a career-best fifth overall finish despite a late throttle issue. Team-mate Adrien Fourmaux left Sardinia with two points after running as high as third before a puncture and alternator issue forced him to retire on Friday. The Frenchman also survived a brake problem on Saturday.

In WRC2, Sami Pajari scored a second win for the new Toyota GR Yaris Rally2 car and finished sixth overall. WRC2 Championship leader Yohan Rossel recovered from a puncture to finish seventh overall and second in class.

Be part of Motorsport community

Join the conversation
Previous article Hyundai explains Tanak’s “be safe, not push it” WRC Sardinia call
Next article Tanak: Surprise Sardinia WRC win “really cruel” on Ogier

Top Comments

Sign up for free

  • Get quick access to your favorite articles

  • Manage alerts on breaking news and favorite drivers

  • Make your voice heard with article commenting.

Motorsport prime

Discover premium content
Subscribe

Edition

Global Global