WRC – Tänak leads, Ogier and Loeb's battle for second place goes down to the wire | Federation Internationale de l'Automobile

WRC – Tänak leads, Ogier and Loeb's battle for second place goes down to the wire

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12.05.19

2019 Rally Chile - Sunday morning

2019 Rally Chile - S. Ogier / J. Ingrassia

Toyota’s Ott Tänak continues to lead the FIA World Rally Championship order on Rally Chile by 21.8s but all eyes were on the two most successful FIA WRC drivers of all-time, Citroën’s Sébastien Ogier and Hyundai’s Sébastien Loeb. Their battle over second place is going down to the wire on the Bio Bio Power Stage, with only 4.6s separating them.

It was a 45.86 kilometre loop of three brand new stages this morning to challenge the FIA WRC crews, starting off with Bio Bio, which will be run again to finish the rally as the Power Stage. Many drivers compared the roads to that of Wales Rally GB, featuring narrow lanes and low grip with no margin for error.

With an advantage of over half a minute, Tänak took a secured approach on Sunday morning and conceded almost 10 seconds to his two French rivals behind. Both were on full attack for the runners-up spot, with Loeb taking the initiative by going four seconds faster on Bio Bio.
But Ogier gave an immediate response on the next stage, delivering an impressive performance with his Citroën C3 WRC at full speed through the narrow roads of Lircay, and went fastest by 4.2s from Loeb, cancelling his time loss from the previous stage. Loeb fought back with a stage win on San Nicolás but could only gain 0.7s on his compatriot.

Elfyn Evans settled down into fourth place, choosing to secure vital points for himself and his M-Sport Ford team rather than trying to join the battle with Loeb and Ogier. His team-mate Teemu Suninen is well behind him in fifth place. He conceded only 0.3s across the first three stages to Citroën’s Esapekka Lappi and keeps a 10s advantage heading to the Power Stage.

Andreas Mikkelsen’s gap to Lappi nearly doubled this morning, falling from around 30s to over a minute after the first three stages.

Škoda’s Kalle Rovanperä still has a solid 27.8s advantage over Citroën’s Mads Østberg in the WRC 2 Pro class for R5-specifications vehicles. Rovanperä also holds eighth overall but has Toyota’s Kris Meeke only 5.2s behind him, who is climbing back up after his roll on Saturday morning. Østberg completes the top 10 overall.

It was a heartbreak for local fans in the FIA WRC 2 category as Chilean hero Alberto Heller, who had been battling out with Japan’s Takamoto Katsuta for the lead throughout the rally, crashed out of second place on Lircay and retired. Katsuta now has nearly three minutes in hand over Mexico’s Benito Guerra.