2019 Rally Chile: Tänak Leads After Day One

by Steven Batey

Ott Tänak leads Rally Chile after the opening six stages by 22.4 seconds from Sébastien Ogier.

Toyota driver Tänak won three of Friday’s stages on the new for 2019 event, including two on the afternoon loop to lead defending champion Ogier with fellow Yaris WRC driver Jari-Matti Latvala completing the top three, 6.4 seconds further adrift.

Sebastien Ogier is second overall. Photo Credit: Jaanus Ree/RedBull Content Pool

The leading pair both made the same mistake on the opening stage of the day by overshooting a corner but recovered with fast times on the following stage to be at the top of the standings going into Saturday.

Latvala meanwhile was one of the pacesetters at the start of the South American event along with Kris Meeke, but the Finn made a string of small mistakes across the remaining five tests that seems him in third.

Thierry Neuville. Photo Credit: Jaanus Ree/RedBull Content Pool

Chasing the Finn is championship leader Thierry Neuville, who after day one is just 0.7 seconds behind in fourth – the Belgian could have been further up the standings if not for being given a nominal time after a red flag midway through stage two.

Irishman Meeke completes the top five in the third Toyota with the returning Sébastien Loeb lying in sixth on his first appearance for the team in a gravel event.

The two M-Sport Ford Fiesta’s of Elfyn Evans and Teemu Suninen are split by Andreas Mikkelsen in eighth, although the Norwegian is over a minute behind Evans.

Esapekka Lappi completes the top 10 after day one, with Kalle Rovanperä and Mads Østberg just 2.4 seconds apart in the battle for the WRC2 PRO lead. Alberto Heller has a 24.5 second margin over Takamoto Katsuta at the front of the WRC2 class.

2019 Rally Chile, a new event on the calendar for the FIA World Rally Championship, continues throughout this weekend.

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