Rally Chile: Victory for Ott Tanak, Neuville unhurt in a heavy crash
Ott Tanak (Toyota Gazoo Racing) triumphed in the first edition of Rally Chile as the FIA World Rally Championship event. The Estonian in the #8 Toyota Yaris WRC took the lead in the early phase on Friday afternoon and stayed in front until the end on Sunday afternoon. It’s the second win this year for Tanak and his eighth WRC victory in a career.
Ott Tanak was also fastest on the Power Stage, adding five points to 25 points that he earned for a victory. Ogier was the second-fastest, taking four additional points.
The rally was marked by a heavy crash of the championship leader Thierry Neuville and his navigator Nicolas Gilsoul on SS8 on Saturday morning, while there were running third. Their #11 Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC was destroyed but, fortunately, Neuville and Gilsoul were unhurt.
Neuville’s retirement promoted Ogier to a new championship leader. After six rounds, the reigning champion has 122 points, ten points more than Ott Tanak and twelve points more than Thierry Neuville.
M-Sport’s Elfyn Evans and Teemu Suninen placed two Ford Fiestas to the top 5. Esapekka Lappi (Citroen) finished sixth, ahead of Andreas Mikkelsen (Hyundai) and Kris Meeke (Toyota). Jari-Matti Latvala (Toyota) retired with broken suspension from the third place on Saturday afternoon, restarting on Sunday and finishing 11th overall.
After two South American WRC events in Argentina and Chile, now it’s time to go back to Europe where seven WRC events will take place before season’s finale in Australia. The next is Rally de Portugal from May 30 to June 2.
Photos: Toyota Gazoo Racing, Hyundai Motorsport, Citroen Racing