World Rally Championship regular Ott Tanak claimed a dominant victory in Estonia to make it six winners from seven rounds in this seasons European Rally Championship.
Tanak, who was untouchable in his home guest appearance, was fastest on 10 of the 14 gravel stages. The 26-year-old did suffer a few few minor technical issues with a faulty pop-off valve but was still able to finish 47.1s ahead of Alexey Lukyanuk.
“It was a really good event for us,” said Tanak. “Somehow we managed to have a really good gap from Friday – we had a bit of luck here and there but we are here and that’s the main thing.”
It could have been an exceptional event for Estonian WRC hero Markko Martin’s M-M team, but it wasn’t meant to be as Timmu Korge lost out to Lukyanuk by just under nine seconds to finish third.
Lukyanuk had been chasing down Korge throughout the event but was able to mount a final sprint at the end to propel his production Mitsubishi Lancer up to second and win the Colin McRae ERC Flat out trophy.
Like Lukyanuk, Rainer Aus was also in a production Mitsubishi Lancer. Aus was able to finish fourth, fending off the factory Skoda S200 of Esapekka Lappi.
Championship leader Lappi was able to extend his championship advantage with a solid fifth place for Skoda Motorsport. The Finn came home just under 40 seconds ahead of Karl Kruuda in one of the new Peugeot 208 T16 R5s.
Kruuda was tipped to be on the podium prior to the event but a power issue on Friday left him out of the running.
WRC3 champion Sebastien Chardonnet made his ERC debut in Estonia but finished a comfortable ninth in Citroen’s new DS3 R5. Frenchman Chardonnet and Finn Kristian Sohlberg were using the Estonian event to prepare for WRC Rally Finland later this month.
The FIA ERC will resume next month with the Barum Czech Rally which will run between 29-31st of August.
Leading finishers after SS15:
Pos Driver Team/Car Time/Gap
1. Ott Tanak M-M Ford 1h49m36.4s
2. Alexey Lukyanuk EAMV-RPM Mitsubishi +47.1s
3. Timmu Korge M-M Ford +55.4s
4. Rainer Aus Carglass Mitsubishi +2m11.7s
5. Esapekka Lappi Skoda +2m17.2s
6. Karl Kruuda ME3 Peugeot +2m56.8s
7. Sepp Wiegand Skoda +3m24.1s
8. Roland Murakas Prorehv Mitsubishi +3m41.8s
9. Sebastien Chardonnet MY Citroen +4m27.7s
10. Kristian Sohlberg Sohlberg Ford +5m59.0s