2019 Wales Rally GB: Tänak Secures Maiden GB Win to Extend Championship Lead

by Steven Batey

Ott Tänak stormed to his first Wales Rally GB victory on Sunday afternoon with the Estonian also winning the rally ending Power Stage.

Championship leader Tänak now has a 28-point advantage over Sebastien Ogier with two rounds left after the Estonian completed his victory ahead of Thierry Neuville and the Frenchman, with the latter duo only both picking up 19 points in Wales.

An opening victory on Alwen 1 this morning, albeit by only 0.1 seconds, showed Tänak’s intention from the start of the day and he went on to eventually claim the victory by 10.9 seconds over Hyundai’s Neuville, who’s points score was matched by Ogier because of the Belgian only taking a fifth fastest Power Stage time.

It was a case of what might have been for Elfyn Evans. Photo Credit: Jaanus Ree/RedBull Content Pool

Elfyn Evans was again at the top of the timesheets, with the home hero winning two of the five stages on Sunday which was enough for him to overtake Andreas Mikkelsen and claim fifth overall behind Kris Meeke. The Northern Irishman had a relatively end to the event as he claimed vital championship points for Toyota as they try and defend their Manufactures title.

By the end of the rally, Evans had increased the margin between himself and Mikkeslen to 9.6 seconds with Pontus Tidemand, Craig Breen and Esapekka Lappi, who took a fine third on the Power Stage, completing the WRC runners.

Rovanperä won the WRC2 PRO class in Wales and secured the title as a result. Photo Credit: Jaanus Ree/RedBull Content Pool

Kalle Rovanperä made no mistakes as he went on to claim both the WRC2 PRO event win as well as the championship title following incidents across the weekend to his rivals, Gus Greensmith, Mads Ostberg, who did restart on Sunday morning and Skoda teammate Jan Kopecký.  The Czech driver finished second in class, although nearly five minutes adrift of the young Finn following a puncture and a roll yesterday.

WRC2 in Wales saw a dream end to Petter Solberg’s WRC career after the 2003 champion held off Pierre-Louis Loubet to take the class victory in the Volkswagen Polo R5 by 18.8 seconds.

Having got ahead of the French driver late on Saturday, Solberg continued to extend his lead throughout this morning’s four stages, topped off with a stage win on Alwen 2.

Solberg took the WRC2 win on his final event. Photo Credit: Jaanus Ree/RedBull Content Pool

For the second day in a row, Oliver Solberg couldn’t have had a much more mixed morning. After taking a double stage victory on the first two tests of the day, he went on to retire from the event on Stage 21 after rolling his sister Polo.

Behind the elder Solberg in Wales, Loubet does however take the lead of the WRC2 championship after rival Kajetan Kajetanowicz retired early on Friday morning. Adrien Fourmaux, Marco Bulacia Wilkinson and Fabio Andolfi completed the top five in class.

The 2019 FIA Junior World Rally Champion was also decided in Wales, with Jan Solans ensuring he finished the event on Sunday to become the winner after a season long battle with Tom Kristensson and Denis Rådström.

Solans is the new Junior WRC champion. Photo Credit: Jaanus Ree/RedBull Content Pool

Solans was the runaway winner in Wales after problems to both of his rivals; Rådström crashed on Friday although did restart while Kristensson held on for second in class after losing over three minutes yesterday when he punctured a tyre on his Ford Fiesta R2.

American driver Sean Johnston sealed his best result in the series in third ahead of Enrico Oldrati while British driver Tom Williams, who rolled out of contention yesterday, restarted on Sunday and completed the final five stages in Wales.

The next round of the 2019 FIA World Rally Championship, Rally Spain, takes place between October 25-27.

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