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Wednesday, May 29, 2024

Tanak ends M-Sport’s WRC victory drought

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The Estonian delivered a measured and faultless drive to come back by a tense head-to-head with Hyundai’s Craig Breen, that dominated nearly all of the weekend.

Competing in his second occasion driving the M-Sport Ford Puma following his change from Hyundai, Tanak claimed a 18.7s victory from Breen. Hyundai deployed group orders forward of the ultimate stage by making Breen verify in late to place him behind his full-time team-mate Neuville, however a mistake from the latter within the remaining stage wrecked these plans.

Tanak scored just one stage win from the 18 checks throughout 4 days of competitors, however his constant pace proved pivotal in coming by a tense battle with Breen, to wrap up a primary win since Ypres Rally Belgium final August. M-Sport’s final WRC win arrived in Monte Carlo final 12 months due to Sebastien Loeb.

Tanak began the rally strongly, ending Thursday’s opening stage simply 1.6s behind Toyota’s Kalle Rovanpera. However the 2019 world champion stormed into the rally lead by the point crews returned to the service park on Friday morning.

Breen, returning to the WRC in his first occasion of a partial season, quickly emerged as Tanak’s nearest rival. It was the Irishman that shone on Friday afternoon as the brand new Hyundai signing wrestled the lead away from the Estonian, which he took into Saturday’s levels.

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Breen’s bid for a memorable maiden WRC win strengthened, along with his benefit over Tanak rising to five.7s, earlier than the M-Sport driver fought again throughout Saturday afternoon.

Craig Breen excelled on his first WRC outing of 2023 however misplaced contact with Tanak on Saturday after this second

Photograph by: McKlein / Motorsport Images

A fortunate escape from a snowbank on Stage 12, and a tyre delamination on Stage 13, adopted by a lack of hybrid energy, hampered Breen and allowed Tanak, who was fortunate to outlive a puncture on Stage 15, to reclaim the lead.

Tanak then cooly polished off Sunday’s three levels to attain the win and internet two powerstage bonus factors. Former M-Sport driver Breen was unable to reel in Tanak over the ultimate checks and a 10-second penalty for checking in a minute late to the ultimate stage.

Neuville received 5 levels however was locked in a battle with Rovanpera throughout Saturday and Sunday for what was the ultimate podium spot. He made essentially the most of his recent tyres on Sunday to drag clear earlier than group orders have been deployed.

A mistake on the ultimate stage virtually proved pricey however he managed to succeed in the end in third, 20.0s adrift.

Rovanpera discovered opening the roads robust going as he misplaced his Thursday evening lead and dropped to as little as fifth, however was in a position to struggle again on Saturday. The Finn hauled himself right into a struggle for the ultimate podium spot with Neuville, after Hyundai’s Esapekka Lappi spun right into a snowbank on Saturday’s Stage 13.

Lappi had held third from Friday up till that time earlier than his rally unraveled when his entrance proper tyre delaminated, which contributed to his spin on the remaining nook of the stage. Lappi was stranded within the snowbank for seven minutes which moved Rovanpera and Neuville into podium rivalry. Rovanpera was additionally fortunate to emerge from a wild high-speed spin in the identical stage.

Oliver Solberg donimated WRC2 and finished seventh overall

Oliver Solberg donimated WRC2 and completed seventh total

Photograph by: McKlein / Motorsport Images

At one level Neuville and Rovanpera shared third spot on Saturday night earlier than Neuville pulled 3.8s clear. Rovanpera briefly nibbled into the deficit on Sunday earlier than Neuville lastly claimed the rostrum.

Following the Hyundai’s group orders, Rovanpera secured fourth and solely picked up three powerstage factors.

Toyota’s Elfyn Evans accomplished the rally in a distant fifth after struggling for confidence behind the wheel of his GR Yaris all through. The Welshman was additionally lucky to outlive run-ins with snowbanks on Saturday.

M-Sport’s Pierre-Louis Loubet, making his first Sweden begin in prime stage equipment, completed sixth after hybrid points and a quick stoppage on the ultimate stage, whereas Lappi recovered to say seventh and received the powerstage.

Toyota’s Takamoto Katsuta disappeared from the rally altogether. The Japanese was compelled to retire from Friday’s motion because of a leaking radiator sustained from a wild roll on Stage 5.

The roll occurred whereas Katsuta, making his first begin for the manufacturing unit group, was sitting fifth after successful Stage 4. He then was pulled from the motion earlier than Sunday’s remaining stage because of an engine concern.

Residence hero Oliver Solberg completed seventh total after dominating the WRC2 class to start out his championship marketing campaign with a 42.3s victory over Ole Christian Veiby.



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