Hat-trick win for Tanak in Turkey

Toyota's Ott Tanak scored a hat-trick of World Rally Championship event wins on Rally Turkey, after title rivals Sebastien Ogier of M-Sport and Hyundai's Thierry Neuville retired in one of the toughest rallies in recent memory, as they returned to Turkey for the first time since 2010.

Tanak was well out of the victory battle and as low as ninth on Friday, but surged through the field to capitalise in the tricky conditions before inheriting the lead as Andreas Mikkselsen hit trouble on Saturday afternoon. Once Tanak was established in the lead on Yesilbelde, SS11, Toyota confirmed it would use team orders to keep him ahead of Jari-Matti Latvala, who started the event seventh in the championship while Tanak is thick in the fight for a first WRC drivers' title.

The win moves Tanak into second in the WRC driver standings, 13 points behind Neuville and 11 ahead of Ogier and Toyota now leads the manufacturers' standings.
The title battle between Neuville and Ogier was epic on Friday, with three tenths splitting them in that order to close out the day. But Neuville's broken-suspension enforced retirement handed Ogier the lead on Saturday morning before he went off and beached his Ford Fiesta after SS11 and was unable to return until the next day.

Neuville also returned on Sunday, and took the loop easy to save tyres for the powerstage, which he won earning five additional bonus points, while Ogier suffered a rear left puncture but still took four points for second on the last stage. M-Sport had Elfyn Evans check-in early to give his team-mate Ogier an extra place on Sunday morning, which paid off as Ogier got a point for 10th in the overall classification.

Hayden Paddon completed an uneventful rally in third for his best result of the year after two consecutive fourth-place finishes, ahead of M-Sport's Teemu Suninen who took the event equally as cautiously to avoid trouble.

Mikkelsen lost the lead as quickly as he had inherited it on Saturday morning, as his car was reduced to rear-wheel drive and he fell back to an eventual fifth overall. Jan Kopecky won in the WRC2 championship as he continued his 100% record in this year aboard his works Skoda Fabia R5 and took seventh overall. European Championship frontrunner Chris Ingram earned a podium in third on his series debut. The youthful Henning Solberg took a brilliant sixth overall.

Leading finishers
Pos Driver Team Car Gap
1 Ott Tanak, M.Jarveoja Toyota Gazoo Racing WRT 3h59m24.5s
2 Jari-Matti Latvala, M.Anttila Toyota Gazoo Racing WRT 22.3s
3 Hayden Paddon, S.Marshall Hyundai Shell Mobis WRT 1m46.3s
4 Teemu Suninen, M.Markkula M-Sport Ford WRT Ford 4m10.9s
5 Andreas Mikkelsen, A.Jager Hyundai Shell Mobis WRT 7m11.7s
6 Henning Solberg, I.Minor Henning Solberg Skoda 13m40.6s
7 Jan Kopecky, P.Dresler Skoda Motorsport II Skoda 18m25.2s
8 Simone Tempestini, S.Itu Simone Tempestini Citroen 19m37.1s
9 Chris Ingram, R.Whittock Toksport WRT Skoda 20m21.3s
10 Sebastien Ogier, J.Ingrassia M-Sport Ford WRT Ford 20m51.2s

Drivers' standings

Pos Driver Points
1 Thierry Neuville 172
2 Sebastien Ogier 149
3 Ott Tanak 136
4 Esapekka Lappi 88
5 Andreas Mikkelsen 65
6 Dani Sordo 60
7 Jari-Matti Latvala 55
8 Elfyn Evans 52
9 Mads Ostberg 48
10 Craig Breen 47

16th September, 2018