WRC - Wales Rally GB: Sixth win of the season for Ott Tanak
Ott Tanak (Toyota Gazoo Racing) has won the 75th Wales Rally GB, the 12th round of the 2019 FIA World Rally Championship. Tanak’s victory at the Welsh gravel event is his first in the British round of the championship, his sixth this season and twelfth in a career.
Ott Tanak and his navigator Martin Jarveoja brought the #8 Toyota Yaris WRC to the finish line with the 10.9sec advantage over Thierry Neuville/Nicolas Gilsoul in the #11 Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC. Defending champions Sebastien Ogier/Julien Ingrassia (#1 Citroen C3 WRC) joined them on the podium.
Tanak takes a maximum of 30 points in Wales because he also won the Power Stage. As three title contenders occupied the podium, the championship battle remained opened ahead of the final two rounds in Spain and Australia.
Ott Tanak is going to Rally Catalunya de Espana (October 24-27) with 28 points more (240:212) on his account than Ogier. Neuville is third with 199 points. In the Manufacturers’ standings, Hyundai leads with 340 points, followed by Toyota (322), Citroen (278) and Ford (200).
The 75th edition of the greatest British rally was the ‘Mudfest’ again, with bad weather conditions from Thursday to Sunday. There were many victims of slippery roads over twenty-one stages (one stage was cancelled), including Jari-Matti Latvala, Craig Breen, Esapekka Lappi, Teemu Suninen… In the end, eight World Rally Cars crews finished in the top 10, followed by new WRC2 Pro champion Kalle Rovanpera in Škoda Motorsport’s Fabia R5 and former world champion Petter Solberg (Volkswagen Polo GTI R5) in his last WRC event in a career.
The other point scorers in the overall classification are Kris Meeke (Toyota, 4th), Elfyn Evans (Ford, 5th), Andreas Mikklesen (Hyundai, 6th), Pontus Tidemand (Ford, 7th) and Craig Breen (Hyundai, 8th).
It was a special event for the Solberg family because Petter’s 18-year-old son Oliver made his WRC debut in another VW Polo R5. Oliver was fast, even winning some stages in WRC2 class, but a broken rim on Friday, technical problem on Saturday and a crash on Sunday put him out of the classification.
The new Junior WRC champion also has been crowned in Wales because it was the last of six JWRC events. It’s Spanish driver Jan Solans, who was sharing the #72 Ford Fiesta R2T19 with Mauro Barreiro.
They won the JWRC class in Wales, taking the championship title from Tom Kristensson/Henrik Appelskog, who came to Wales as leaders. It’s interesting that Jan’s older brother Nil Solans was the JWRC champion in 2017.
Photos: Toyota Gazoo Racing/McKlein, Kalle Rovanpera, Petter Solberg,