2019 Rally Finland: Tänak Seals Fourth Win of 2019

by Steven Batey

Ott Tänak took a maximum points victory on Rally Finland on Sunday afternoon to extend his championship lead to 22 points in the FIA World Rally Championship.

After seeing both of his Toyota teammates, Jari-Matti Latvala and Kris Meeke, suffer problems on Saturday after hitting the same rock, the Estonian driver took a 16.4 seconds lead over Esapekka Lappi into the final four stages of the event.

And the championship leader made no mistakes throughout Sunday as he secured his third win in four events, also taking the Power Stage win on his way to a 25.6 seconds winning margin over Lappi, who took his best result since Rally Sweden back in February.

Completing the podium on the Finnish stages was the recovering Latvala, who unlike teammate Meeke, was able to continue in the fight at the front of the field after surviving hitting the rock with only a puncture.

His Toyota teammate did restart under Super Rally rules on Sunday morning, but another incident with a rock smashes the Yaris WRC’s suspension and he took no further part.

Photo Credit: Jannus Ree/RedBull Content Pool

Fourth overall was Andreas Mikkelsen, who got the better of defending champion Sebastien Ogier by just 2.7 seconds despite the Frenchman’s best efforts to get back his hands on more championship points with a huge jump at the end of the Power Stage proving just how hard the Citroen man was trying.

Thierry Neuville benefited from Craig Breen running ahead of him on the leaderboard as the Irishman was asked by the Hyundai team to check in late to the final stage of the rally so that he received a 20 seconds penalty, moving the championship challenger into sixth, 5.8 seconds ahead of Breen.

Teemu Suninen was the final classified WRC runner after M-Sport teammate Gus Greensmith crashed on stage 21 while Kalle Rovanperä won every stage across the weekend to secure the WRC2 PRO win over Eric Camilli and took ninth overall.

Gryazin won WRC2. Photo Credit: Jannus Ree/RedBull Content Pool

The WRC2 class saw Nikolay Gryazin make the most of Pierre-Louis Loubet’s accident on Saturday evening to take the victory. He held off Jari Huttunen who finished just 14 seconds behind in second. Double World Rallycross champion Johan Kristoffersson completed the top three.

Finally, just one point now separates new championship leader Tom Kristensson and Jan Solans in the battle at the top of the FIA Junior World Rally Championship after the Swede took his second win of the season in Finland.

He finished nearly a minute and a half ahead of Solans, who had at one point on Saturday been down in fifth in class before a storming recovery drive saw him move into third before being helped by Dennis Rådström’s accident on stage 22 saw him move up to the runners-up spot.

The next round of the 2019 FIA World Rally Championship is Rally Germany, which takes place between August 22-25.

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