Rally Italia Sardegna: Maiden WRC victory for Ott Tänak
Ott Tänak clinches his maiden WRC victory today at Rally Italia Sardegna, the seventh round of the 2017 World Rally Championship. After seven podium finishes in a career, including three podiums in 2017, the 29-year-old Estonian driver finally reaches the top podium spot in his 73rd WRC start.
Tänak inherited a lead on Saturday afternoon when previous rally leader Hayden Paddon crashed out with his Hyundai i20 Coupe on SS13. The Estonian defended a lead in front of Toyota’s Jari-Matti Latvala to enter the last day with 24.3 seconds advantage.
In the final day, Latvala didn’t manage to overtake the Estonian, so after total of 19 stages and 312 competitive kilometers, Tanak took the win with 12.3s gap ahead of Latvala. The third driver on a podium is Thierry Neuville (Hyundai).
Hayden Paddon wasn’t the only driver who crashed out from the leading position. On Friday, Kris Meeke (Citroen) was leading when rolled out his C3 WRC on Special stage 5. He reached the service but a car was too damaged for repair and he didn’t restart.
At the end, Andreas Mikkelsen was the best Citroen driver in his first appearance with French manufacturer. He finished in the eighth place. Toyota Gazoo Racing was the most successful team with three cars in top 6, as Esapekka Lappi was fourth and Juho Hanninen finished sixth. Other point scorers are Sebastien Ogier (5th), Mads Ostberg (7th), Eric Camilli (9th) and Jan Kopecky (10th).
Esapekka Lappi was the fastest driver at the Power Stage, earning an additional five points. Dani Sordo was second, ahead of Ogier, Neuville and Latvala. Ogier remaines in the championship lead, ahead of Neuville, Tanak and Latvala.
The next WRC event is Rally Poland, scheduled for June 30 to July 2.