Ott Tänak and Jari-Matti Latvala survived a gruelling Rally Turkey to post a superb one-two finish on Sunday, taking Toyota to the top of the manufacturers’ standings in the World Rally Championship. It was a third win in a row for Tänak and the Yaris WRC, the first time this has been achieved by any driver since the latest WRC era began last year
Tänak said: “This rally was so difficult. From the beginning, we knew that it will not be the fastest driver that will win this rally but that it would be the smartest. We were the most consistent and we managed to do the whole rally without any issues or having to stop on any of the stages. Obviously it has been a great team effort and they have been able to build a very strong car. The championship is now wide open so let’s keep pushing.”
The rally, returning to the WRC calendar for the first time since 2010, proved a tough test for all the teams and crews, taking place on gravel stages that none of the drivers had encountered before. The conditions claimed many notable victims, but the Toyota team’s focus on reliability and avoiding mistakes paid dividends.
At the end of Friday’s first full day of action, Tänak, Latvala and Esapekka Lappi held fourth, fifth and seventh places respectively, including a stage win for Tänak on the final stage of the day. Saturday proved crucial, with Tänak displaying strong pace through the morning’s stages to move into second place by mid-day service, just ahead of Latvala. With their principal rivals suffering problems, the Toyota pair held first and second by the end of the day, more than a minute clear of the third-placed driver. Lappi’s rally came to a premature end after his car spun and suffered heavy damage that could not be repaired in time for a restart.
The championship’s next date is the Dayinsure Rally GB, taking place from 4 to 7 October. The Welsh stages can be fast in dry conditions, but mud and treacherously slippery conditions can arise with rain, fog and ice, particularly in the early morning and late evening.
FINAL CLASSIFICATION, RALLY TURKEY
1 Ott Tänak/Martin Järveoja (Toyota Yaris WRC) 3h59m24.5s
2 Jari-Matti Latvala/Miikka Anttila (Toyota Yaris WRC) +22.3s
3 Hayden Paddon/Seb Marshall (Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC) +1m46.3s
4 Teemu Suninen/Mikko Markkula (Ford Fiesta WRC) +4m10.9s
5 Andreas Mikkelsen/Anders Jaeger (Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC) +7m11.7s
6 Henning Solberg/Ilka Minor (Skoda Fabia R5) +13m40.6s
7 Jan Kopecky/Pavel Dresler (Skoda Fabia R5) +18m25.2s
8 Simone Tempestini/Sergiu Itu (Citroen C3 R5) +19m37.1s
9 Chris Ingram/Ross Whittock (Skoda Fabia R5) +20m21.3s
10 Sebastien Ogier/Julien Ingrassia (Ford Fiesta WRC) +20m51.2s
Retired Esapekka Lappi/Janne Ferm (Toyota Yaris WRC)