Ott Tanak is dominating the Rally Finland event for his Toyota team, after edging a tight battle with Citroen’s Mads Ostberg on the first full day of action on Friday
Despite starting just third on the road on Friday, leaving him susceptible to some of the worst conditions for the field, Tanak stunned his fellow competitors by securing an overall lead of 5.4s over Ostberg, despite the Citroen driver having much more favourable conditions on his runs throughout the day. Saturday would prove to be crucial for Tanak as he would start 11th on the road, with much improved conditions and it looked very ominous for the rest of the field.
Ostberg, who has replaced the axed Kris Meeke for at least the remainder of 2018, was unable to match the pace of the Toyota driver. He slipped to 23.7s behind Tanak as the Estonian continued to fly along and rack up stage win after stage win. Luckily for Ostberg however, he too was very quick and had a lot more pace than those behind him, and is 20.9s clear of the third place Toyota driven by Jari-Matti Latvala.
Latvala had ended Friday behind the M-Sport Fords of Sebastien Ogier and Elfyn Evans, but when the action resumed on Saturday he very quickly ususrped them both to move into the podium places. Hayden Paddon is now in fourth in the lead Hyundai, as the Fords of Teemu Sunninen, Ogier and Evans have slipped to sixth, seventh and eighth respectively with all drivers unhappy with their cars performance.
Ogier though is ahead of title rival Thierry Neuville, a mistake on Friday languishing the Hyundai driver down in tenth place. Neuville suffered another blow as the third Citroen driven by Khalid Al-Qassimi crashed out whilst first on the road, compromising Neuville’s run that morning.
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