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Sardinia - Sordo Scores his Second WRC Win

The WRC moved on to round 8 - Rally Italia Sardegna last weekend where Dani Sordo celebrated his second success in 164 WRC starts after a steering problem in the final stage denied Tänak his hat-trick victory. The Estonian had led the hot and dusty rally since Saturday morning in his Toyota Yaris and began the final Stage with a half-minute advantage over Sordos Hyundai i20. The rally was Tanaks to lose but disaster struck shortly after the start of the stage and also allowed Teemu Sininen to score his best WRC result with second in the M-Sport Fiesta and Mikkelsen third for Hyundai. Ogier had retired, also with broken steering.

18th June, 2019

Tänak flys Toyota's flag in Portugal

1. Ott Tänak / Martin Järveoja (Toyota Yaris WRC) 3:20:22.8
2. Thierry Neuville / Nicolas Gilsoul (Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC) +15.9
3. Sébastien Ogier / Julien Ingrassia (Citroen C3 WRC) +57.1
4. Teemu Suninen / Marko Salminen (Ford Fiesta WRC) +2:41.5
5. Elfyn Evans / Scott Martin (Ford Fiesta WRC) +7:08.3

2nd June, 2019

Tanak Leads in Chile

Ott Tanak edged ahead of reigning World Rally champion Sebastien Ogier on the Saturday morning loop of Rally Chile, while Thierry Neuville rolled out of the podium battle. Tanak had won only one stage from three on Saturday morning, the loop-ending Pelun test, he gained more than 10 seconds over Ogier in all, extending his lead to 34.6s.

Ogier was initially being closed down by current points leader Neuville, who had top the times on the opening Rio Lia test and gained 5.7s on the Citroen driver. But the Belgians rally came to an abrupt halt on SS8, when he ran wide over a crest, hit a bank and rolled his Hyundai i20 several times, badly damaging his car and forcing him to retire.

That promoted Jari-Matti Latvala back to the final podium position, just 16.4s clear of Latvala, who was slowed on SS7 by Toyota teammate Kris Meeke, when the Northern Irishman cruised through the stage after rolling his Yaris, losing 20.1s in all on Rio Lia, but suggested some of the deficit would be recovered with an adjusted notional time, though for now his stage time remains the same.

Following Neuvilles retirement, Sebastien Loeb has closed up to only 1.1s behind Latvala in fifth place, gaining time on Latvala during all three runs on Saturday morning, including a stage win on Maria Las Cruces.

Elfyn Evans is over 90s up on his M-Sport teammate Teemu Suninen, who occupy fifth and sixth places respectively and Esapekka Lappi (Citroen) moved up to seventh at the expense of Andreas Mikkelsen (Hyundai) on Maria Las Cruces, after Mikkelsen had already been demoted a place by Suninen one stage earlier. The Norwegian driver was the slowest driver bar gentleman driver Lorenzo Bertelli for most of the morning and is already 22.8s behind Lappi.

Despite losing several minutes with his roll, Meeke is currently in ninth place, having completed the last two stages of the Saturday morning loop at full speed and without a front windscreen. Meeke however is expected to be demoted out of the top 10 after notional times are handed out for Maria Las Cruces, who was red-flagged for Neuvilles accident.

Kalle Rovanpera had looked set to concede the lead in WRC2 to Mads Ostberg on Rio Lia. But late on the mornings first test, brake fluid started to leak from the Citroen drivers rear brakes, which cost Ostberg over half a minute.

11th May, 2019

Neuville Wins in Corsica

Thierry Neuville took a dramatic WRC win for Hyundai on the Tour of Corsica as Elfyn Evans' M-Sport Fiesta suffered a puncture on the final stage after leading Neuville by 11.5 seconds heading into the Power Stage. This followed a stunning time earlier in the morning which allowed him to retake the lead he lost on Saturday. However, Evans picked up a front-right puncture on the final stage and dropped over a minute, plummeting to third overall.

Events then gifted Neuville his first win of the season and with it the championship lead, two points ahead of Sebastien Ogier who didn't win a single stage all weekend but came home a surprise second overall for Citroen. The Frenchman had never been particularly happy with the feeling of his C3 despite trying several different suspension set-ups, but kept out of trouble and snuck his way up the leaderboard to score second.

Evans had hit the front as early as stage one, leading Toyota's Ott Tanak after Friday's action. Tanak fought back on Saturday, edging into the lead by lunchtime before his challenge unravelled on SS11 when he picked up a puncture and lost two minutes meaning the Toyota driver eventually finished sixth, dropping him first to third in the championship.

Dani Sordo was fourth for Hyundai, having taken a sole stage win on the mammoth 30-mile Castagniccia test. He had been running ahead of Ogier for much of the rally only for his brakes to fade on Sunday morning. Teemu Suninen did exactly what was asked of him by his M-Sport Ford team and finished the rally without incident, ending up fifth overall.

Citroen's Esapekka Lappi was frustrated all weekend as he struggled to get on top of an ill-handling C3 WRC. However, the Finn made no mistakes and bagged seventh place for his efforts. Nine-time world champion Sebastien Loeb's rally was almost over before it begun, as he slid wide into a kerb on the opening stage. The Hyundai driver lost two minutes as he limped through the test with a broken rear steering arm. Loeb recovered to eighth, surviving a spin on Saturday morning when he understeered into a ditch.

Kris Meeke's pace promised a much stronger finish than ninth, but he was another to lose time as early as stage one. The Briton cut a corner and immediately wrecked the front-left tyre on his Toyota, and then made the same mistake against a kerb but saved his tyres on Sunday morning to allow him a scorching run on the Power Stage to earn him five extra championship points. Jari-Matti Latvala had a disappointing weekend, with two punctures on Friday and Saturday harming his cause. The Toyota driver ended up 10th, over a minute-and-a-half behind teammate Meeke.

Final results:
Pos Driver/Co-driver Car Time/Gap
1. Thierry Neuville/Nicolas Gilsoul Hyundai i20 Coupe 3:22'59.0
2. Sébastien Ogier/Julien Ingrassia Citroën C3 40.3
3. Elfyn Evans/Scott Martin Ford Fiesta 1'06.6
4 . Dani Sordo/Carlos del Barrio Hyundai i20 Coupe 1'18.4
5. Teemu Suninen/Marko Salminen Ford Fiesta 1'24.6
6. Ott Tanak/Martin Jarveoja Toyota Yaris 1'40.0
7. Esapekka Lappi/Janne Ferm Citroën C3 2'09.1
8. Sébastien Loeb/Daniel Elena Hyundai i20 Coupe 3'39.2
9. Kris Meeke/Sebastian Marshall Toyota Yaris 5'06.3
10. Jari-Matti Latvala/Miikka Anttila Toyota Yaris 6'44.6

Drivers Championship Positions
1. Thierry Neuville 82
2. Sebastien Ogier 80
3. Ott Tanak 77
4. Elfyn Evans 43
5. Kris Meeke 42
6. Esapekka Lappi 26
7. Sebastien Loeb 22
8. Dani Sordo 16
9. Jari-Matti Latvala 15
10. Teemu Suninen 14

Manufacturer Championship
1. Hyundai Shell Mobis 114
2. Citroen Total 112
3. Toyota Gazoo 98
4. M-Sport Ford 70

31st March, 2019

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