Courtesy of WRC Media Service
The Estonian builds a big lead after a strong perfomance on Friday afternoon.
Ott Tänak shrugged
aside an early error to hold a comfortable lead at the end of Friday’s
fascinating opening leg of Copec Rally Chile.
The Toyota Yaris driver won three of the six speed tests on slippery forest roads south of Concepción to head Sébastien Ogier by 22.4sec. Team-mate Jari-Matti Latvala was a further 6.4sec back in third.
grip and poor visibility caused by bright sunshine piercing the dense
tree canopy ensured a demanding welcome for drivers at the FIA World
Rally Championship’s first visit to Chile.
They also struggled
for confidence with brand-new pace notes, which proved far from
accurate in many cases after being made in thick fog.
overshot a corner and stalled his engine at a muddy bridge in the
opening speed test but won the next test to grab the lead.
dominated the afternoon to win both dirt road tests in a car that
handled better after mid-leg changes, stretching his lead from a handful
of seconds to almost half a minute.
“At lunchtime the
engineers did a good job with the car. The feeling improved and the
confidence is there. It won’t be easy tomorrow, but we’ll try to keep
focused and hopefully we can keep our rhythm,” he said.
made an identical error in the opening special stage, but the Frenchman
quickly grabbed second. He edged further clear this afternoon on drier
roads, enjoying better performance from his Citroën C3 than in Argentina
a fortnight ago.
Latvala had a rollercoaster day. The Finn shared the fastest time in the opening test with Kris Meeke but several mistakes, culminating in a final stage engine stall when on course for fastest time, kept him down in third.
Championship leader Thierry Neuville
held fourth in a Hyundai i20, only 0.7sec behind. His morning push was
interrupted when a red flag, issued for safety reasons, halted his
attack on the second stage but a notional time kept him in the hunt.
day worsened after a strong opening test. He lacked confidence and slid
to fifth in his Yaris, 2.2sec clear of nine-time world champion Sébastien Loeb. Loeb got to grips with his i20 on his gravel debut in the car and climbed to sixth after a powerful afternoon.
action is based in similar territory south of Concepción, sandwiched
between the Pacific Ocean and the Biobió river. Two identical loops of
three speed tests, covering a mix of forest tracks and more open roads
are drive morning and afternoon, covering 121.16km.
Leading positions after leg 1:
1. O Tänak / M Järveoja EST Toyota Yaris 1hr 24min 12.8sec
2. S Ogier / J Ingrassia FRA Citroën C3 +22.4sec
3. J-M Latvala / M Anttila FIN Toyota Yaris +28.8sec
4. T Neuville / N Gilsoul BEL Hyundai i20 +29.5sec
5. K Meeke / S Marshall GBR Toyota Yaris +46.5sec
6. S Loeb / D Elena FRA Hyundai i20 +48.7sec
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