Ott Tänak claimed his second podium finish of the season with the TOYOTA GAZOO Racing World Rally Team following a great performance on the Tour de Corse, the French round of the FIA World Rally Championship. Esapekka Lappi’s hopes of joining Tänak on the overall podium were dashed by a puncture on the final day, but he bounced back to win the Power Stage – his fourth stage win of the challenging all-asphalt event. The points gained move Toyota up to third in the manufacturers’ championship, while Tänak is up to third in the drivers’ standings.
Tänak had moved into second place by just 0.1 seconds on Saturday’s final stage but made the place his with a superb drive on Sunday morning’s first stage. At 55.17 kilometres, it was the longest stage the event had run since 1986, and Tänak completed it 12.6 seconds faster than anybody else.
Based on the great speed he had shown during the event, Lappi was also in podium contention coming into the final day, but a mistake on SS11 led to him needing to stop and change a flat tyre. He went on to win the rally-ending Power Stage by 2.2 seconds and gained sixth place in the overall standings.
Jari-Matti Latvala was unable to take part in the final day of the rally after rollcage damage incurred in a crash on Saturday was deemed to be too extensive to be repaired during the event.
Tommi Mäkinen (Team Principal)
“I think our whole team can be very satisfied at the end of this rally. Ott has achieved a really good result, while I feel sorry for Esapekka, who had an excellent drive yesterday and a podium would have made it even better. I believe this is one of the most difficult rallies for drivers from northern Europe like ours: I know that from when I competed here as a driver. The stages are very challenging and you have to have maximum confidence in the car. After the first day, where we were struggling a little bit, the performance was very, very good over the last two days. We are always learning, and it seems we have learned something else here that will help us in the next asphalt event.”
Ott Tänak (Driver car 8)
“Overall it has been a very nice weekend. Corsica has always been the event which I maybe enjoy the least: I have really struggled here in the past. This year I worked really hard to be consistently on the pace. We were never pushing to the maximum but we were always setting a good rhythm. On the penultimate stage, I had a really clean run and I tried to be close to the maximum all the time, and it looked like it paid off. On the Power Stage, I took no risks: I just wanted to make sure we finished in second position, which was very important. For my first time on proper asphalt with Toyota, I’m happy with that.”
Esapekka Lappi (Driver car 9)
“I think we have learned a lot here both as drivers and as a team. We have been able to find a good setup for the car. Yesterday was really perfect, and the speed was good on the final day as well. Unfortunately, I made a small mistake, which I take full responsibility for. I guess the rear tyres were still a bit cold and I lost the rear a bit and hit a kerb on the outside. We broke part of the rim and the tyre started to come off so we had to stop and change it. After that it was good to win the Power Stage: there was actually more grip than I was expecting, so I just pushed harder and harder.”
FINAL RESULT, RALLY FRANCE (TOUR DE CORSE)
1 Sebastien Ogier/Julien Ingrassia (Ford Fiesta WRC) 3h26m52.7s
2 Ott Tänak/Martin Järveoja (Toyota Yaris WRC) +36.1s
3 Thierry Neuville/Nicolas Gilsoul (Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC) +1m07.5s
4 Dani Sordo/Carlos del Barrio (Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC) +2m02.6s
5 Elfyn Evans/Phil Mills (Ford Fiesta WRC) +2m06.1s
6 Esapekka Lappi/Janne Ferm (Toyota Yaris WRC) +2m33.5s
7 Andreas Mikkelsen/Anders Jaeger (Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC) +2m43.4s
8 Jan Kopecky/Pavel Dresler (Skoda Fabia R5) +10m34.8s
9 Kris Meeke/Paul Nagle (Citroen C3 WRC) +10m40.5s
10 Yoann Bonato/Benjamin Boulloud (Citroen C3 R5) +12m26.0s
Retired Jari-Matti Latvala/Miikka Anttila (Toyota Yaris WRC)
Round five of the WRC will take place on Rally Argentina from April 26-29. Some stages take place on high-speed soft and sandy roads in the valleys, while others are run on rocky mountain tracks. The softer stages are prone to becoming heavily rutted as more cars pass over them, while fog and even ice can sometimes be found in the mountain sections, with weather conditions often changeable.
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