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