Ott Tanak closed out his dominant Rally Argentina with his first victory for Toyota, winning by an overall margin of 37.7s over Hyundai’s Thierry Neuville
Tanak had taken the lead on Friday just before the service and then extended that lead as the rest of the day went on. He was helped by closest challenger at the time Andreas Mikklesen suffering a puncture during Friday afternoon. At one point, Tanak’s lead was over 46 seconds but he was cautious throughout the final day to protect his lead and secure the victory and spring himself right into the championship hunt. Neuville had a very strong rally and clawed useful points back on championship leader Sebastien Ogier.
Dani Sordo had a solid and consistent rally to take home third place, ahead of Ogier, who was nearly two minutes adrift of Tanak. Ogier looked like he could be an unlikely contender for victory. His position as first on the road during Friday was belied by just being under five seconds off Tanak come the afternoon, but as the day went on he slipped further and further back down the order to settle in fifth place, which became fourth after then second place man Kris Meeke in his Citroen had to change a puncture on Saturday. Ogier also felt he was cautious through the fog on Saturday morning.
Citroen’s woes were compounded when Craig Breen retired with severe roll cage damage on Saturday, a consequence of a heavy shunt in the afternoon. Mikklesen eventually came home in fifth place, with Elfyn Evans behind him and Meeke coming back from eighth to finish seventh. Esapekka Lappi and Teemu Suninen came home eighth and ninth, with WRC2 winner Pontus Tidemand tenth overall. Jari-Matti Latvala’s rally never got going, being very quick on Friday morning but retiring with suspension and engine damage after hitting a rock in SS3.
Feature Image Credit: Red Bull Content Pool