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WRC Rally Poland: Tanak ekes out lead after Mikkelsen error

Ott Tanak completes SS16 of Rally Poland with his lead over Andreas Mikkelsen up to 19.5secs; Hayden Paddon remains third, 5.1secs back, with Thierry Neuville, Jari-Matti Latvala and Sebastien Ogier in positions 4 through to 6
CLICK HERE for Rally Poland leaderboard after SS16


DMACK's Ott Tanak continues to lead Rally Poland following Saturday's second loop, stretching his advantage to 19.5secs after Andreas Mikkelsen made an error in the penultimate test.

Tanak more than quadrupled his overnight lead this morning, winning all three stages, but was unable to win any more on the repeats, losing 1.5secs to Mikkelsen in SS14 and 1.4secs in SS15.

However, in SS16, Mikkelsen made a small mistake, overshooting a junction, and with Tanak going second quickest – just 0.2secs slower than stage winner, Jari-Matti Latvala – he finished the loop having gained time, eking out his cushion by 1.5secs.

“I had a really big push in there [Goldap 2]. A couple of wide moments too. For the moment I think it's enough,” Tanak told the official WRC site.

“Can I do it tomorrow [and win]? Why not? The car is working well and I'm enjoying myself...”

Meanwhile, Mikkelsen remains hopeful he can fight back, especially given rain is expected on Sunday: “I braked a little bit too late and overshot a junction [in SS16]. I had to stop and turn around. My mistake. What can I do tomorrow now? I don't know. The weather will change and everything is possible,” he added.

Behind, Hayden Paddon completes the provisional podium, just 5.1secs back, and again more or less matching Mikkelsen and Tanak.

“I think the rain will make a big difference tomorrow,” Paddon predicted. “We've tested in the wet here and it makes things very slippery.”

Further back, Thierry Neuville holds fourth, 17secs off his Hyundai team-mate, and 24secs up on Jari-Matti Latvala, who survived an impact with a rock in SS15.

Sebastien Ogier completes the top six, and while he found conditions better this afternoon, he again lost out being first in.

“Not so easy to enjoy this kind of day. One of the toughest jobs of sweeping in my career,” he said. “There is just nothing that you can do. There was much more loose gravel this year - even on the second loop. I've pushed as hard as possible for two days without winning one stage.”

Next up, Stephane Lefebvre is seventh, still heading the Abu Dhabi Total WRT DS 3 WRCs and also notching up his very first WRC stage win in SS15. He is now 10.6secs up on team-mate Craig Breen, with M-Sport duo Eric Camilli and Mads Ostberg more than 30secs further adrift in ninth and tenth.

Dani Sordo lies just outside the top ten in P11, hampered like Ogier by his road position, with WRC2 class leader Esapekka Lappi 12th.

Lappi took the lead in WRC2 in SS14 and now lies 9.1secs up on Teemu Suinen. Elfyn Evans remains third.

Day two of Rally Poland now concludes with a third and final run through the 2.50km Mikolajki Arena SSS, scheduled to start at 19.08 hours local time [18.08 hours UK time].
by Rob Wilkins



Related Pictures

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Ott Tanak (EST) Raigo Molder (EST), Ford Fiesta WRC, Dmack WRT

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