Ott Tanak leads Rally Germany

Ott Tanak lead on Rally Germany from Andreas Mikkelsen on Friday afternoon, while Sebastien Ogier spun and fell behind World Rally Championship rival Thierry Neuville into fourth. Heavy rain had prompted the first competitive use of the World Rally Championship's 'full wet' tyres - nicknamed the 'monsoon' compound - for the Mittelmosel and Grafschaft stages.

M-Sport Ford driver Tanak carried a mix of full wets and soft slicks and was fastest on both stages, despite an error on Mittelmosel, he closed to within 0.9 seconds of Mikkelsen's Citroen by the end of that stage and then took the lead by winning Grafschaft too. Mikkelsen, who had started the afternoon running wets all round, starts Saturday 5.7s off Tanak.

Ogier had fared best of those running slicks all round on the long stages and looked set to end the day at the tail of a three-way lead battle with Tanak and Mikkelsen but he spun on the Wadern superspecial that closed the leg, losing 20s and falling to fourth - 2.4s behind title rival Neuville. Hyundai driver Neuville gained fifth place when Jari-Matti Latvala's Toyota developed a misfire on the pre-service running of the superspecial at lunchtime, then grabbed fourth from Elfyn Evans's DMACK Ford on the first afternoon stage.

Though Ogier's error then put him into the top three, Neuville is half a minute away from leader Tanak. Evans looked set to lose fifth to Esapekka Lappi's Toyota until the Rally Finland winner crashed out on Grafschaft. Juho Hanninen is therefore the leading Toyota in sixth, a position he picked up when Craig Breen emulated Ogier's superspecial spin.
Latvala's misfire cost him nearly a minute and a half, but he was soon back ahead of a low-on-confidence Hayden Paddon to end the day eighth.
Top Ten Leader Board
Position .... Crew ..... Team ...... Time
1 Ott Tanak, M.Jarveoja M-Sport World Rally Team 1h07m23.0s
2 Andreas Mikkelsen, A.Jager Citroen Total Abu Dhabi WRT 5.7s
3 Thierry Neuville, N.Gilsoul Hyundai Motorsport 28.2s
4 Sebastien Ogier, J.Ingrassia M-Sport World Rally Team 30.6s
5 Elfyn Evans, D.Barritt M-Sport World Rally Team 52.1s
6 Juho Hanninen, K.Lindstrom Toyota Gazoo Racing WRC 1m14.7s
7 Craig Breen, S.Martin Citroen Total Abu Dhabi WRT 1m24.5s
8 Jari-Matti Latvala, M.Anttila Toyota Gazoo Racing WRC 1m54.7s
9 Hayden Paddon, S.Marshall Hyundai Motorsport 2m29.5s
10 Jan Kopecky, P.Dresler Skoda Motorsport Skoda 3m36.2s

18th August, 2017