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Wednesday, February 28, 2024

Dominant Tanak ends victory drought, Rovanpera fifth

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The 2019 world champion claimed 9 of the 21 phases throughout 4 gruelling days, navigating by way of Sardinia’s well-known tough gravel phases in scorching temperatures to attain his first win since final February’s Arctic Rally Finland by 1m03.2s from M-Sport Ford driver Craig Breen.

Following Elfyn Evans’s early exit from the lead due to a water leak on Friday, Tanak grew to become embroiled in a battle with Toyota’s Esapekka Lappi. Tanak briefly claimed the lead after Stage 4, earlier than dropping 0.7s adrift of the Finn heading into Saturday.

Tanak was handed a slice of fine fortune as Friday’s final two stages were cancelled moments after choosing up transmission problem that was set to value him beneficial time. That reprieve allowed Hyundai to resolve the problem.

Armed with a wholesome i20 N on Saturday, Tanak received six of the following eight phases to reclaim the lead. His cost was additionally helped once Lappi crashed out of the lead on Saturday morning.

As soon as forward, Tanak cruised to victory on Sunday, securing Hyundai’s first win of the season after a tough 12 months suffering from reliability points with its hybrid i20 N.   

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Breen emerged as Tanak’s nearest challenger because the Irishman produced his finest drive of the season thus far to assert his second podium of the season, equalling his profession finest end result within the WRC.

Hyundai loved a double podium as Dani Sordo claimed third for the second rally in succession, at an occasion he has twice been a winner, as he completed 1m33.0s adrift of team-mate Tanak. 

The Spaniard, competing in solely his second occasion of 2022 within the third automobile he shares with Oliver Solberg, used his expertise to navigate by way of tough situations to finish a strong factors haul for Hyundai.  

M-Sport’s Pierre-Louis Loubet delivered his finest efficiency thus far within the WRC’s prime flight to complete fourth. The Frenchman had initially fronted M-Sport’s cost and ran as excessive as third, earlier than dropping all the way down to fifth when he suffered a puncture. 

Loubet rebounded to fourth following Lappi’s exit, bettering his earlier finest results of seventh achieved at Estonia final 12 months and Sardinia in 2020.  

Championship-leader Rovanpera drove sensibly to complete fifth after a troublesome opening day of sweeping the roads

Photograph by: Pink Bull Content material Pool

Championship chief Kalle Rovanpera was unable to repeat the heroics of successful from first on the highway in Croatia and Portugal, because the Finn struggled for tempo cleansing the gravel roads, ending Friday greater than a minute adrift.

The Toyota driver drove sensibly thereafter and benefitted from bother for his rivals, together with a rally ending crash for M-Sport’s Adrien Fourmaux on Saturday evening, to assert fifth. The end result, plus 4 bonus factors from the powerstage, has prolonged his championship result in 55 factors over Thierry Neuville.

Toyota team-mate Takamoto Katsuta survived the brutal situations to complete sixth after having to nurse a broken radiator on Saturday. 

M-Sport’s Gus Greensmith, who misplaced two minutes on Stage 3 struggling to re-fire his Puma after a half spin, accomplished the Rally1 discipline in seventh. 

Hyundai’s Neuville managed to salvage the utmost 5 bonus factors from the rally-ending powerstage after one other tough weekend. 

Beginning second on the highway, the Belgian led the rally after Thursday’s tremendous particular however misplaced 15s resulting from hanging mud on Friday’s Stage 2, brought on by diminished time intervals between the automobiles. 

A transmission issue then cost him two minutes as he battled together with his I20 N that had misplaced drive to the rear wheels. Nicely adrift of the pack, Neuville charged on Saturday to make up floor however that got here to halt when he rolled the i20 N on Stage 12, which put him out of the occasion till Sunday. 

Following his early exit, Evans was one other driver to snare three factors on the powerstage after rejoining the motion on Sunday, following a rear suspension failure on Saturday. 

Lappi additionally returned to motion on Sunday, ending the rally with two championship factors from the ultimate stage. 

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