Catalunya WRC: Tanak stretches lead as Ogier, Neuville struggle

Toyota’s Ott Tanak continued to be the dominant force on Rally Catalyuna during the Friday afternoon stages, as he chases his fourth World Rally Championship victory in five events.

Catalunya WRC: Tanak stretches lead as Ogier, Neuville struggle

Referred to as the ‘day of gravel’, in recent years the rally’s second day has shaken up the competitive order before a return to asphalt legs on Saturday and Sunday.

It proved favourable for Tanak. Despite a continuation of the morning’s damper problems, he extended his lead in his Yaris to 26.8 seconds over returning Hyundai driver Dani Sordo.

Tanak said: “The dampers really can’t manage and they’re overheating. The car is getting so, so soft.

“In the beginning of the afternoon, the car was really good but then I started to struggle. I still did my best and did everything I could to stay on the road.”

He dismissed any further car issues, ahead of the return to a smoother surface.  

Evans was in contention for victory in Wales Rally GB last time out before a misfire forced him to retire his Ford Fiesta WRC. That underlying pace looked to have carried over as he headed Sordo into the day’s final stage.

But a “committed” yet slow run on SS7 dropped him to third, 2.9s behind Sordo – the M-Sport driver blaming inefficiency.

A set-up change to dial-out oversteer allowed Sebastien Loeb to be more aggressive, in turn he moved up to fourth overall. He now sits just 0.5s adrift of a potential podium in his Citroen C3 on his final planned outing of the season.

Jari-Matti Latvala will be ruing a suspected broken suspension arm on his Yaris that was sustained in the morning and dropped him down the times. In the afternoon, he was fastest by four seconds on SS6 and by a further three seconds on SS7 as he climbed to fifth.

Hyundai i20 WRC driver Andreas Mikkelsen impressed. Despite the extra weight of carrying two spare tyres, he ended the day sixth.

Tanak’s title rivals Sebastien Ogier and Thierry Neuville struggled as the first runners on the stages. The lack of grip means they wind up seventh and ninth respectively, split by Citroen’s Craig Breen.

While his Toyota stablemates were running strongly, Eskeppa Lappi’s difficult rally continues. He spun on the afternoon’s opening stage, a mistake he accepted blame for, and dropped to 10th ahead of Teemu Suninen.

The Volkswagen Polo GTI R5s have the advantage of a low position in the running order on the car’s competitive debut. Eric Camilli made the extra grip available count and heads the WRC2 order in 12th.

Kalle Rovanpera managed to turn his deficit to new class champion Jan Kopecky into a 9.3s advantage, topping the Skoda Fabia R5 runners in 13th.

Sébastien Loeb, Daniel Elena, Citroën World Rally Team Citroën C3 WRC

Sébastien Loeb, Daniel Elena, Citroën World Rally Team Citroën C3 WRC

Photo by: McKlein / LAT Images

shares
comments
Catalunya WRC: Title hopeful Tanak hits back to lead Ogier
Previous article

Catalunya WRC: Title hopeful Tanak hits back to lead Ogier

Next article

Catalunya WRC: Tanak drama gifts Sordo narrow lead

Catalunya WRC: Tanak drama gifts Sordo narrow lead
Load comments
Why the WRC's 'modern Group B' era was rallying at its bonkers best Prime

Why the WRC's 'modern Group B' era was rallying at its bonkers best

The World Rally Championship has brought down the curtain on the aggressive, aero-laden generation of cars first introduced in 2017 that have been likened to the 1980s Group B icons. As the championship prepares to begin a new era of Rally1 hybrid cars, its stars explain just why the outgoing machines were so special

WRC
Dec 24, 2021
Ranking the top 10 WRC drivers of 2021 Prime

Ranking the top 10 WRC drivers of 2021

On the eve of a new hybrid era for the World Rally Championship, the 2021 season was a blockbuster fought out between Toyota's two top dogs, with a familiar figure eventually emerging on top after a final showdown at Monza. We pick out the 10 best performers from the top class and its supporting cast

WRC
Dec 21, 2021
Why Ogier's WRC swansong was a season to savour Prime

Why Ogier's WRC swansong was a season to savour

He’s shuffling into semi-rally-retirement, but Toyota star Sebastien Ogier was at the peak of his powers in the final season for the high downforce era-World Rally Championship cars. Despite Toyota's domination, there was still much to enjoy as the old master emerged atop a fierce title fight against teammate Elfyn Evans.

WRC
Dec 19, 2021
How WRC legend Ogier will be remembered by his peers Prime

How WRC legend Ogier will be remembered by his peers

After winning his eighth WRC title, Sebastien Ogier has drawn the curtain on his full-time rallying career. To understand Ogier's legacy, many of his former rivals, team-mates and colleagues have shared their thoughts on a vastly successful career

WRC
Nov 26, 2021
Ranking lost WRC legend Richard Burns' 10 best rallies Prime

Ranking lost WRC legend Richard Burns' 10 best rallies

Richard Burns was a determined driver who took on the best rally drivers in the world during a boom period in the early 2000s, and beat them. On the 20th anniversary of his crowning glory in winning the 2001 WRC title, and 16 years on from his death on the same date, we pick out his 10 greatest drives

WRC
Nov 25, 2021
The internal focus that made Burns a legendary world rally champion Prime

The internal focus that made Burns a legendary world rally champion

At the turn of the millennium, WRC was full to the brim with rallying's great and good - and 20 years ago on this day, Richard Burns became England's first world rally champion. Although Burns' natural talent drove him to the top, his steely determination and mental strength was the key attribute behind his title-winning form

WRC
Nov 25, 2021
How Ogier emerged from Loeb's shadow to form his own WRC legend Prime

How Ogier emerged from Loeb's shadow to form his own WRC legend

OPINION: Adding an eighth WRC title to his name, Sebastien Ogier has bowed out from full-time rallying in style. Having been compared throughout his career with nine-time champion Sebastien Loeb, Ogier has convincingly demonstrated that he can stand on his own as one of the greatest rally drivers in history

WRC
Nov 22, 2021
How confronting self-doubt drove Ogier to become a WRC legend Prime

How confronting self-doubt drove Ogier to become a WRC legend

This weekend's Rally Monza marks the end of an era in the World Rally Championship, as Sebastien Ogier prepares to bring down the curtain on his full-time career with an eighth title. For all his enduring success, the Toyota driver reveals in an exclusive interview that lingering insecurities have compelled his quest for perfection

WRC
Nov 18, 2021