2019 Rally Turkey: Lappi Leads Shock Citroen One-Two

by Steven Batey

Esapekka Lappi leads Citroen teammate Sebastien Ogier by 17.7 seconds on Rally Turkey at the end of Friday.

The Finn leapfrogged Thierry Neuville who won the opening stage on Thursday evening on the opening stage of the day and led throughout the remaining five tests, despite only winning one, to clam a surprise lead.

Behind, defending champion Ogier holds off title rival Neuville by just 0.7 seconds, with the Belgian taking a storming win on stage six where the conditions changed to heavy rain and he jumped from seventh to third, with Hyundai teammate Andreas Mikkelsen dropping to fifth on the same stage as a result of choosing the wrong tyres.  

Ogier and Neuville are separated by less than a second. Photo Credit: Jaanus Ree/RedBull Content Pool

Championship leader Ott Tänak had a day to forget, with the Estonian suffering a puncture on the chaotic Çetibeli 2 dropping him from fifth overall down to eighth after losing over a minute on stage winner Neuville. The Toyota man also struggled having to clear the road on the early stages on Friday morning.

Teemu Suninen sits fourth after Friday’s six stages, with the M-Sport Ford driver having a solid day as he continues his strong run in the championship. Behind Mikkelsen, Dani Sordo completes the top six with the Spaniard claiming the win on the final stage of the day to move up from eighth.  

Sordo won the last stage on Friday. Photo Credit: Jaanus Ree/RedBull Content Pool

The pair are split by 21.1 seconds, with Kris Meeke, who won stage five, opting to not push his Yaris WRC to the absolute limit after suffering damage in seventh. Jari-Matti Latvala, another man to suffer a puncture on Friday and the returning Pontus Tidemand completed the WRC runners.

WRC2 PRO’s three drivers all also suffered several punctures throughout the day, with overnight leader Kalle Rovanperä rolling his Skoda Fabia R5 EVO on the opening stage. He continued, although later retired on stage five.

Photo Credit: Jaanus Ree/RedBull Content Pool

This means teammate Jan Kopecký goes into Saturday as class leader, 1m2.3s ahead of Gus Greensmith. The young Brit, making his first appearance in the MK8 Ford Fiesta R5, had a torrid morning after suffering two punctures but is seemingly on a mission to regain his lost time after winning all three stages on Friday afternoon.

WRC2 meanwhile sees Kajetan Kajetanowicz have a huge three-minute lead over Marco Bulacia Wilkinson going into Saturday. The gap had been under 40 seconds on stage five, but the youngster was forced to stop and change a puncture on his Fabia R5. Fabio Andolfi sits third and won all three afternoon stages as he continues his comeback back up the leaderboard after one point sliding down to ninth in class after punctures on two morning stages.

Rally Turkey continues this weekend.

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