Chile WRC: Tanak wraps up victory, Ogier takes points lead

Ott Tanak wrapped up his second World Rally Championship victory of the season on Rally Chile, while new championship leader Sebastien Ogier successfully held Sebastien Loeb at bay for second.

Toyota’s team leader Tanak moved into the lead of the rally on stage two and didn’t look back, extending his lead to over half a minute on Saturday. That margin of victory was whittled down to 23.1s at the finish, saving tyres on Sunday morning for a glory run on the Powerstage, which he won to secure a maximum possible haul of 30 points.

Ogier had been under pressure from Loeb overnight, who had been the fastest driver of all on Saturday, and initially dropped further time on the first pass of Bio Bio to hold only 1.1s in hand over his compatriot. But the Citroen driver rebounded emphatically with a dominant stage win on Lircay, regaining the time he’d lost one stage earlier and then going second on the power stage, securing second place by 7.1s and picking up four bonus points. Despite his strong run on the Powerstage his rally finished in unusual fashion, with the alarm for his fire extinguisher going off during Bio Bio and filling the cockpit with a “very bad smell” that affected his concentration.

His second place and bonus points gives Ogier a 10-point lead over Tanak in the drivers’ championship, the former on 122 and the latter on 112.

Thierry Neuville had been atop the standings coming into Rally Chile but suffered a dramatic barrel roll on the Maria Las Cruces test on Saturday morning, destroying his Hyundai i20 and leading to a brief check-up in hospital afterwards. He did not return on Sunday and his no-score drops him to third in the championship, two points behind Tanak on 110pts.

Loeb was left to fly the flag for Hyundai instead and despite winning the San Nicolas stage, wasn’t able to find the crucial final seconds to usurp Ogier for second, though still went fourth fastest on the Powerstage to pick up two bonus points. Third place also marks Loeb’s first podium finish since joining Hyundai, bettering his previous best finish with the German team of fourth place at the season-opening Rally Monte Carlo.

Elfyn Evans wrapped up a trouble-free rally in fourth place, leading home M-Sport team-mate Teemu Suninen by over a minute and a half in fifth. Suninen had faced a challenge from Esapekka Lappi but pegged the Citroen driver throughout the Sunday morning loop, dropping only 0.3s across three stages.

With 10s between them a late position switch was unlikely but any hopes of fifth place for Lappi were extinguished by a spin on the powerstage, which cost him around 15s after stalling when attempting a three-point turn to get going again. Despite the spin Lappi was still a comfortable sixth, with Andreas Mikkelsen in the second Hyundai well behind in seventh.

Kris Meeke was the second best Toyota in eighth place, passing WRC 2 Pro winner Kalle Rovanpera for the position on the power stage and also scoring a solitary bonus point for fifth fastest time on Bio Bio’s second pass. He had lost several minutes on stage seven when he hit a solid object and rolled his Toyota Yaris, going on to complete the Saturday morning loop with no windscreen.

Skoda driver Rovanpera won his class by 23.6s from Citroen’s Mads Ostberg in 10th overall, who had been delayed on Saturday morning by his rear brakes leaking fluid.

Jari-Matti Latvala was 11th after returning from retirement on the final stage on Saturday when he hit a rock in a ditch and broke his Yaris WRC’s front-left driveshaft. The Finn still scored three points thanks to going third-fastest on the Powerstage.

ClaDriver/CodriverCarTotal TimeGap
1 Ott Tanak 
 Martin Jarveoja
Toyota Yaris WRC3:07’56.5
2 Sébastien Ogier 
 Julien Ingrassia
Citroën C3 WRC3:08’18.321.8
3 Sébastien Loeb 
 Daniel Elena
Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC3:08’22.926.4
4 Elfyn Evans 
 Scott Martin
Ford Fiesta WRC3:09’27.81’31.3
5 Teemu Suninen 
 Marko Salminen
Ford Fiesta WRC3:11’06.93’10.4
6 Esapekka Lappi 
 Janne Ferm
Citroën C3 WRC3:11’16.93’20.4
7 Andreas Mikkelsen 
 Anders Jaeger
Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC3:12’27.94’31.4
8 Kalle Rovanperä 
Jonne Halttunen
Škoda Fabia R53:15’20.77’24.2
9 Kris Meeke 
 Sebastian Marshall
Toyota Yaris WRC3:15’25.97’29.4
10 Mads Ostberg 
 Torstein Eriksen
Citroën C3 R53:15’48.57’52.0