Sweden WRC: Tanak stays top, Mikkelsen and Lappi tied for P2
Andreas Mikkelsen and Esapekka Lappi are tied for second place on Rally Sweden with three stages remaining, as Ott Tanak continues to lead the way.
Toyota Tanak managed his gap across Saturday’s final two stages, which took place on the short Karlstad superspecial first used on Thursday and a shortened version of Friday’s last stage, Torsby Sprint.
Mikkelsen, Lappi and Thierry Neuville were engaged in a battle over second place, with Lappi 1.9s behind the Norwegian in fourth and Neuville 4.5s off his Hyundai teammate after a rerun of Saturday morning’s three stages.
Lappi carved 1.5s out of Mikkelsen’s advantage on the Karlstad superspecial and then won back another 0.4s through Torsby Sprint, leaving the pair dead level, both 54.5s behind Tanak.
Hovering close behind, Neuville won the day-ending Torsby Sprint, taking over a second out of Mikkelsen on each of the two short tests to finish Saturday 2.3s adrift of the tied pair.
M-Sport's Elfyn Evans lost four seconds to Neuville across those two stages, casting him further adrift of the podium battle which he had been part of this morning. He remains fifth, 11.9s off Neuville.
A battle for sixth between Kris Meeke and Sebastien Loeb had looked set to go Loeb’s way based on his pace earlier in the afternoon, as the two headed to the pair of superspecials separated by only 0.5s.
A strong run from Meeke opened that gap up, though Loeb claimed half a second back on Torsby Sprint to finish the day 1.6s adrift of Meeke in seventh.
M-Sport Ford driver Pontus Tidemand continues to hold eighth place.
Sweden WRC: Tanak stretches lead over runner-up battle
Sweden WRC: Tanak on brink of win, Mikkelsen drops back