Rally Germany: Ott Tanak seals second career win ahead of Mikkelsen – WRC

Ott Tanak clinched victory in Germany as his M-Sport Ford team-mate Sebastien Ogier rebuilt a 17-point World Rally Championship lead over Thierry Neuville.

In the lead fight from the outset, Tanak hit the front for good amid Friday afternoon’s torrential rain – when he was one of a handful of drivers to give the WRC’s ‘monsoon’ tyre its competitive debut – and controlled the remainder of the event.

His second WRC win, and first on asphalt, came just three rallies after his maiden triumph in Sardinia.

Both Neuville and Ogier, who had arrived in Germany level on points, made errors in Friday’s slippery conditions.

They began day two third and fourth with Neuville slightly ahead, but his Hyundai broke its suspension in a cut on Saturday’s opening Panzerplatte stage.

Though Neuville hoped he could still salvage some bonus points from the powerstage when he rejoined on Sunday, he never got back on the pace as he struggled for confidence and with the car’s set-up.

The only consolation for Neuville was that Ogier couldn’t catch Andreas Mikkelsen for second place, as the world champion decided to play it safe once Neuville was out.

Ogier wasn’t a big scorer on the powerstage either, but his fourth place there was two points more lucrative than Neuville’s sixth.

Mikkelsen, the leader for much of Friday, never gave up on chasing Tanak for victory and finally finished 16.4-seconds adrift.

His second place was only the second WRC podium for a Citroen driver this season after Kris Meeke’s Mexico win in March.

While Mikkelsen, whose programme beyond this rally is uncertain, got Citroen back in the victory hunt, its nominal team leader Meeke crashed less than a mile into the event on Thursday’s superspecial.

He rejoined under Rally2 and ran at the tail of the field until a water-pump failure on Saturday afternoon.

Juho Hanninen recovered from a mistake on Friday and damper problems on Saturday to claim fourth when Elfyn Evans briefly went off on the final morning.

Evans had been a top-five factor at first but his DMACKs were not as rapid when the weather improved and he lost fifth place to Craig Breen on the very last stage.

The other Toyotas of Jari-Matti Latvala and Esapekka Lappi were in top five contention on Friday before a misfire dropped Latvala down the order and Lappi crashed.

Latvala salvaged seventh ahead of Hayden Paddon, who was off the pace and delayed by an early puncture, with Lappi consigned to Rally2.

Dani Sordo briefly led early on but was another Friday crasher.

Like Lappi, he showed what might’ve been with stage wins after rejoining – including the powerstage, by 0.2s over the Finn.

M-Sport fielded an additional World Rally car for German veteran Armin Kremer, who finished ninth ahead of his WRC2-winning team-mate Eric Camilli.

Skoda WRC2 driver Jan Kopecky had led the event outright by setting the pace on the Thursday evening superspecial, but a puncture on Saturday cost him a potential class win.

His team-mate Pontus Tidemand wrapped up an early WRC2 championship title as third in class in Germany cemented the advantage he’d built with four wins in the opening rounds.

Rally result

Pos Driver Team Car Gap
1 Ott Tanak, M.Jarveoja M-Sport World Rally Team Ford 2h57m31.7s
2 Andreas Mikkelsen, A.Jager Citroen Total Abu Dhabi WRT Citroen 16.4s
3 Sebastien Ogier, J.Ingrassia M-Sport World Rally Team Ford 30.4s
4 Juho Hanninen, K.Lindstrom Toyota Gazoo Racing WRC Toyota 1m49.2s
5 Craig Breen, S.Martin Citroen Total Abu Dhabi WRT Citroen 2m01.5s
6 Elfyn Evans, D.Barritt M-Sport World Rally Team Ford 2m03.4s
7 Jari-Matti Latvala, M.Anttila Toyota Gazoo Racing WRC Toyota 3m58.2s
8 Hayden Paddon, S.Marshall Hyundai Motorsport Hyundai 4m32.4s
9 Armin Kremer, P.Winklhofer Ford 10m19.4s
10 Eric Camilli, B.Veillas M-Sport World Rally Team Ford 10m44.3s

Powerstage result

Pos Driver Team Car Gap
1 Dani Sordo, M.Marti Hyundai Motorsport Hyundai 6m17.3s
2 Esapekka Lappi, J.Ferm Toyota Gazoo Racing WRC Toyota 0.2s
3 Jari-Matti Latvala, M.Anttila Toyota Gazoo Racing WRC Toyota 2.6s
4 Sebastien Ogier, J.Ingrassia M-Sport World Rally Team Ford 2.7s
5 Craig Breen, S.Martin Citroen Total Abu Dhabi WRT Citroen 2.9s

Drivers’ championship

Pos Driver Points
1 Sebastien Ogier 177
2 Thierry Neuville 160
3 Ott Tanak 144
4 Jari-Matti Latvala 123
5 Dani Sordo 89
6 Elfyn Evans 87
7 Craig Breen 64
8 Juho Hanninen 58
9 Hayden Paddon 55
10 Esapekka Lappi 49
11 Andreas Mikkelsen 39
12 Kris Meeke 31
13 Teemu Suninen 25
14 Stephane Lefebvre 22
15 Mads Ostberg 19
16 Jan Kopecky 5
17 Pontus Tidemand 4
18 Eric Camilli 3
19 Stephane Sarrazin 2
19 Armin Kremer 2
21 Yohan Rossel 1
22 Bryan Bouffier 1

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