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Estonian Tanak powers Toyota to third successive WRC triumph

2018-09-17 07:22
Ott Tanak

Image: OZAN KOSE / AFP

Toyota's Ott Tanak, claimed his third consecutive victory on Sunday, at the Turkish Rally, to move up to second place in the world championship standings.

Finland's Jari-Matti Latvala, also in a Toyota, finished second with New Zealand's Hayden Paddon third in a Hyundai after a tumultuous weekend in which Belgian championship leader Thierry Neuville and French rival Sebastien Ogier collected only five points apiece.

Fighting for places

Neuville and Ogier were both forced to retire following race incidents on Saturday, allowing Tanak to take command and head into the final day Sunday with a 13 second lead on Latvala.

READ: Neuville abandons Turkey WRC due to suspension failure, leaving Ogier in the lead

Although Neuville and Ogier were both allowed to start on Sunday, Tanak held firm during the final stages to claim his third win on the trot following successes in Finland and Germany.

Tanak leapfrogged Ogier into second place in the championship standings to sit just 13 points behind Neuville. Ogier (M-Sport Ford), the five-time world champion, is in third place at 23 points behind.

"This rally was really difficult. On Friday we thought even finishing fifth or sixth would be a good result, but we also knew you didn't just have to be fast but the most cunning to win here," said Tanak.

'We have to keep pushing'

With three races remaining in the championship, Tanak added: "The championship is becoming interesting, we have to keep on pushing."

Neuville, who broke his suspension on Saturday's opening stage (SS8), lamented a missed opportunity to stretch his championship lead.

"We're fighting for the championship against guys who are difficult to beat, but we deserved to win here, to be honest.

We were leading and were by far the fastest, until a little problem got in our way," said the Belgian.

Ogier admitted the race for the title is wide open. The final races will be held in Wales, Catalunya (Spain) and Australia.

"We're still in with a chance. This weekend didn't turn out how it was supposed to but, with three rallies to race, anything can happen," he said.

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