Ott Tänak claimed a dominant Rally Sweden victory on Sunday afternoon and took the lead of the 2019 FIA World Rally Championship as a result.
Estonian Tänak led by 54.5 seconds with three stages remaining on Sunday and went on to produce a stunning stage winning time on the Torsby 2 Power Stage to take a total of 30 points away from the snow event.
Behind, the battle for the remaining places on the podium went down to the wire as Esapekka Lappi held off Thierry Neuville by just three seconds, thanks in part to a fast final sector on the Power Stage when Neuville’s time was seemingly going to be enough to secure the runners up spot.
Fourth went to Andreas Mikkelsen in the second Hyundai Shell MOBIS i20 Coupe after going into Sunday tied for second, as the Norwegian couldn’t match the pace of his rivals on the final three stages.
The top six were completed by Elfyn Evans, who finished third on the Power Stage in the M-Sport Ford and Kris Meeke, who had a quiet but consistent weekend as he continued his impressive start with the Toyota GAZOO Racing World Rally Team.
Nine-time champion Sebastien Loeb finished seventh overall with local hero Pontus Tidemand in eighth. WRC2 Winner Ole Chrsitain Vieby secured a fine ninth overall after rival Jari Huttunen crashed out on the penultimate stage. Janne Tuohino completed the top 10.
Sebastien Ogier, who had retired from the event on Friday, salvaged two championship points on the Power Stage, but Jari-Matti Latvala, who was in a similar scenario as the defending champion, could only manage the seventh fastest time on the 9km rally ending stage.
Mads Østberg took the WRC2 PRO win with a three-minute advantage over Kalle Rovanperä after the Finn’s incident with a snow bank yesterday. Gus Greensmith completed the top three, but continued to struggle on Sunday and spun his M-Sport Ford on stage 18 losing him more time.
Behind Veiby in WRC2 was Emil Lindholm in a second Volkswagen Polo, albeit over two minutes behind with double World Rallycross Champion Johan Kristofferson in third, just 16.1 seconds further back. Tom Kristensson made no mistakes on his way to the Junior WRC win following Dennis Rådström’s crash on Saturday afternoon.
Round three of the 2019 FIA World Rally Championship takes place on Rally Mexico, between March 7-10.