Monday 21 August 2017

Rally - Tänak Takes two

You have to wonder if Kris Meeke's Citroen anorak is hanging on a shaky nail these days. His speed is not in doubt, but his confidence must have taken a knock with all the comings and goings in the team over recent weeks. Crashing on the first stage of ADAC Rallye Deutschland wouldn't have helped either, nor the success of drafted in team-mate Andreas Mikkelsen.

And yet he remains upbeat. You can take the boy out of Northern Ireland, but you can't take Northern Ireland out of the boy. On Saturday night, he Tweeted: "Started to get back my rhythm today. Unfortunately a mechanical issue forced us to retire after Stage 14." Gaun yersel Kris.

As for Ott Tänak, he scored his second WRC victory in Germany with his Ford Fiesta finishing 16.4 secs clear of Andreas Mikkelsen and 14 secs clear of Sebastien Ogier.

Ogier's third place has pushed him 17 points clear in the WRC standings after Thierry Neuville failed to score. The Belgian finished 44th after breaking his Hyundai i20’s suspension on Saturday morning.

Juho Hänninen followed up his first WRC podium at the previous round in Finland with fourth in a Toyota Yaris. He was behind Elfyn Evans at close of play on Saturday night after breaking a damper, but regained 4th on Sunday morning.

Evans opted for soft compound tyres for Sunday’s final four speed tests and it cost him dear. He was also overhauled by Ireland’s Craig Breen, who snatched fifth in the final stage despite landing from a jump with such force that it cracked his C3’s windscreen. The gap was 1.9sec.

At the rally finish Elfyn said: “It’s not been the best of weekends for us, but that’s just the way it goes sometimes. At times the pace was pretty good and we pushed as hard as we could through every stage. But there were so many surface changes and it’s probably fair to say that we struggled on some of them. We’ve made some good progress since Corsica which is a big positive, and the team as a whole have secured a really strong result so we’re looking forward to the next one.”

Craig Breen added: "It's almost unbelievable to be fifth again, but it shows our consistency. I pushed from start to finish. I couldn't have gone any quicker over the final jump on the Power Stage. In fact, the landing was so heavy that we cracked the windscreen! But we managed to sneak into the top five so overall, it's been a pretty positive weekend. We learned a lot at an event that I didn't know very well, so that'll be useful for me in the future."

Final Provisional Standings:
1. Tänak / Jarveoja (Ford Fiesta WRC) 2:57:31.7
2. Mikkelsen / Jaeger (Citroën C3 WRC) +16.4
3. Ogier / Ingrassia (Ford Fiesta WRC) +30.4
4. Hänninen / Lindstrom (Toyota Yaris WRC) +1:49.2
5. Breen / Martin (Citroën C3 WRC) +2:01.5
6. Evans / Barritt (Ford Fiesta WRC) +2:03.4
7. Latvala / Anttila (Toyota Yaris WRC) +3:58.2
8. Paddon / Marshall (Hyundai i20 WRC) +4:32.4
9. Kremer / Winklhofer (Ford Fiesta WRC) +10:19.4
10. Camilli / Veillas (Ford Fiesta R5) +10:44.3

1. Sébastien Ogier - 177 pts
2. Thierry Neuville - 160
3. Ott Tänak - 144
4. Jari-Matti Latvala - 123
5. Dani Sordo - 89
6. Elfyn Evans - 87
7. Craig Breen - 64
8. Juho Hänninen - 58
9. Hayden Paddon - 55
10. Esapekka Lappi - 49
11. Andreas Mikkelsen - 39
12. Kris Meeke - 31

1. M-Sport WRT - 325 pts
2. Hyundai Motorsport - 261
3. Toyota Gazoo Racing WRT - 216
4. Citroën Total Abu Dhabi WRT - 167


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