FIA World Rally Championship

Tänak retires once again from Rally Poland and Rovanperä snatched the lead in the Saturday morning loop

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Credit: Jaanus Ree / Red Bull Content Pool

Hyundai Shell Mobis WRT driver Ott Tänak and co-driver Martin Järveoja will not compete in the Saturday afternoon stages of the 80th ORLEN Rally Poland after making a strategic decision.

Tänak was forced to retire from the rally early on yesterday, already on Friday’s second stage where the crew had a head-on collision with a deer which caused damage to the car, the team has repaired the car for Saturday morning stages and Tänak has been right up there with the top times.

However, Hyundai announced during the midday service on Saturday that Tänak would not be participating in the afternoon special stages in a statement that reads: “We decided to retire car #8 for the day in order for Ott and Martin, and the team to focus on their push for points in Super Sunday tomorrow,”

Tänak had no chance to compete for the conditional points awarded on Saturday evening but tomorrow the Estonian will be going all-in, as there are separate daily points up for grabs for the top seven fastest drivers, along with additional points for the top five in the Power Stage which is the last stage of the rally. The maximum points available for the day is a substantial 12 points which can help Tänak in the title hunt. As Tänak rejoins the rally tomorrow, he will be the first car out on the road in the morning loop, loose gravel may complicate his driving, especially in the morning when the stages are run for the first time.

Credit: Jaanus Ree / Red Bull Content Pool

Over to the others, the reigning champion Kalle Rovanperä who is driving for Toyota Gazoo Racing WRT has snatched the lead from Hyundai’s Andreas Mikkelsen as they head for the midday service. The Finn is only leading by 0.4 of a second to his teammate Elfyn Evans while Mikkelsen dropped down to third so the afternoon will see a thrilling fight between these three drivers as only 2.7 seconds is separating.

The two M-Sport Ford WRT drivers of Adrien Fourmaux and Mārtiņš Sesks are in fourth and fifth respectively, Hyundai’s Thierry Neuville is sitting in the middle of an M-Sport sandwich in sixth as the last M-Sport driver Grégoire Munster is in seventh. Toyota’s Takamoto Katsuta is still holding on to eight meanwhile Sami Pajari is still leading the WRC2 class with ninth place overall followed by Robert Virves rounding up the top 10.

Top 10 after SS12:

Pos.Driver / Co-driverNat.CarTeamTime
1.Kalle Rovanperä / Janne HalttunenFinlandToyota GR Yaris Rally1 HybridToyota Gazoo Racing WRT1:31:38.3
2.Elfyn Evans / Scott MartinUnited KingdomToyota GR Yaris Rally1 HybridToyota Gazoo Racing WRT+ 0.4
3.Andreas Mikkelsen / Torstein EriksenNorwayHyundai i20 N Rally1 HybridHyundai Shell Mobis WRT+ 2.7
4.Adrien Fourmaux / Alexandre CoriaFranceFord Puma Rally1 HybridM-Sport Ford WRT+ 15.9
5.Mārtiņš Sesks / Renārs FrancisLatviaFord Puma Rally1 M-Sport Ford WRT+ 30.7
6.Thierry Neuville / Martijn WydaegheBelgiumHyundai i20 N Rally1 HybridHyundai Shell Mobis WRT+ 46.5
7.Grégoire Munster / Louis LoukaLuxembourg / BelgiumFord Puma Rally1 HybridM-Sport Ford WRT+ 56.2
8.Takamoto Katsuta / Aaron JohnstonJapan / IrelandToyota GR Yaris Rally1 HybridToyota Gazoo Racing WRT+ 1:06.8
9.Sami Pajari / Enni MälkönenFinlandToyota GR Yaris Rally2Printsport+ 3:57.5
10.Robert Virves / Aleks LeskEstoniaŠkoda Fabia RS Rally2Robert Virves+ 4:30.1
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