Ott Tänak claimed his second consecutive 2019 FIA World Rally Championship victory in Portugal at the weekend, making it three wins so far this season and now moves to within two points of championship leader Sébastien Ogier.
The Toyota team are obviously thinking ahead, even this early in the season, as Tänak sacrificed extra points in the final Wolf Power Stage to ensure he does not have the disadvantage of starting first at the next round in Italy. As Ogier took maximum bonus points he will open the road in Italy.
Things were looking good initially for Yaris team mate Kris Meeke as he closed to within 2.4sec of Tänak before spinning out of second place. He then crashed into a tree stump and wrecked his car’s suspension in the final stage.
“The day started well," said Kris, "We were able to increase the gap to behind us, and then we were just trying to hold it. Unfortunately, we had a spin on the penultimate stage and it cost us some time trying get going again. Going into the Power Stage, I didn't have so much to fight for, the bonus points were not such a big concern for me. But in a right-hand corner there was a tree stump in the grass on the inside, I didn't have it in my notes and I caught it with the steering wheel open. It was completely my mistake. I'm gutted for the team because we'd had such a strong rally. Now we have to move on and take the positives from this weekend: It's been my strongest yet in this car and we have to look forward.”