We always knew what the Estonian dirt monger Ott Tänak was capable off, but after four gruelling days of going toe to toe with the greatest rally drivers in the world, Tänak could finally taste gold. After 73 starts that did not see him to the pedestal, he became the fifth --different--, driver, to win this season. And what a season it has been.
Tänak and his Ford Fiesta headed Jari-Matti Latvala’s roving Toyota Yaris by a sphincter clenching 12.3 seconds, over 312 km of Sardinia's most gruelling tarmac. Further behind was Thierry Neuville who was 55.4 seconds behind in the i20. Neuville now has his sight set on championship leader Sebastian Ogier with just 18 points dividing the two. This win also brings Tänak into the top three for this season.
As for Estonia -- who have deep roots in Internationally rally-- it was their first win since Markko Märtin’s success in Spain in 2004. Interesting to know that Markko was, in fact, Tänak mentor as he climbed through the ranks.
“It was a difficult weekend but the first half of this season has been great,” said Tänak. “The new car and a strong team-mate are making me push hard. I hope it’s the first of many wins because it’s all coming together now.”
Esapekka Lappi was a remarkable fourth in only his second World Rally Car outing. He won six of the 19 tests in his Yaris to finish 1min 12.4sec ahead of Ogier.
The fourth spot was taken by Esapekka Lappi, who was only in his second outing in a full spec World Rally Car. He sure did prove his right to be in that cockpit winning 6 of the 19 stages and bringing his Yaris in a full minute and twelve seconds ahead of Ogier.
As for the championship leader Sebastian Ogier who spent the weekend struggling on the outside lines -- literally-- searching for grip finished in a just-decent fifth.