WRC: Neuville wins in Spain, Ott Tänak is the world champion
Ott Tänak is the FIA World Rally Champion for 2019! The 32-year-old Estonian and his navigator Martin Jarveoja secured the world’s title by finishing second at RallyRACC Catalunya – Costa Daurada in Spain, the 13th and the penultimate round of the championship.
The duo in the #8 Toyota Yaris WRC built an advantage of 36 points ahead of season’s finale in Australia in November. There was suspense until the very last stage, the 20.72-km La Mussara Power Stage, on which Ott Tanak was the fastest, taking five additional points but also overtaking Dani Sordo for the second place overall.
In the end, Hyundai Motorsport has two crews on the podium, with Thierry Neuville/Nicolas Gilsoul winning the rally and Dani Sordo/Carlos del Barrio finishing third. Such a result increased Hyundai’s advantage in the Teams’ championship.
After Sebastien Loeb (Hyundai) ended Friday’s leg as the leader, Neuville took the lead on Saturday morning and stayed in front until the end, finishing the rally with the 17.2sec gap ahead of Tanak. Sordo lost second place by just 0.4 seconds.
Sebastien Loeb and Daniel Elena finished in the fourth place, six seconds in front of Jari-Matti Latvala/Miikka Anttila (Toyota). M-Sport Ford’s Elfyn Evans and Teemu Suninen finished in the sixth and seventh places respectively.
Sebastien Ogier (Citroen), who came to Spain as one of three championship contenders, lost all the hopes on Friday with damaged power steering on his Citroen C3 WRC. In the end, he picked up at least some points with the eighth-place finish.
Two drivers of Citroen C3 R5s, Mads Ostberg and Eric Camilli, completed the top 10 in the overall classification and took the victories in the WRC2 Pro and WRC2 categories.
The season’s finale, Rally Australia, is scheduled for November 14-17.
Photos: Hyundai Motorsport, Toyota Gazoo Racing/McKlein,