Top 15 classification at RallyRACC Catalunya after SS7

Ott Tanak has carved out almost half a minute on his nearest World Rally Championship rivals to comfortably lead the opening day at RallyRACC Catalunya as his WRC title rivals faltered.

The Toyota Gazoo Racing driver continued his strong second half of the season with a string of consistently quick stages, despite only claiming victory on SS2, to push ahead as his main rivals hit trouble.

Defending WRC champion Sebastien Ogier drifted wide on SS3 which dropped him down the order to seventh place for M-Sport Ford, while championship leader Thierry Neuville struggled for front-running pace which sees him relegated to ninth place for Hyundai.

Tanak’s Toyota teammate Jari-Matti Latvala looked a strong contender for victory in the opening stages but a puncture on SS4 lost him around 45 seconds to the Estonian driver to tumble down the order.

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As a result, local star Dani Sordo acts as Tanak’s closest rival 26.8s back in second place for Hyundai with a slender 2.9s-advantage on M-Sport Ford’s Elfyn Evans.

WRC legend Sebastien Loeb returns to action for Citroen as planned and ended his opening day in Spain in fourth place as lead Citroen driver, half a second behind Evans, while Latvala recovered to fifth place.

Andreas Mikkelsen holds sixth for Hyundai by just 0.3s from Ogier, with Citroen’s Craig Breen splitting the WRC title rivals with Neuville in ninth place.

Esapekka Lappi rounds out the top ten for Toyota following a tricky start to his Spanish event but comfortably ahead of Teemu Suninen for M-Sport Ford in 11th.

Eric Camilli leads the WRC2 class and is 12th overall in the new Volkswagen Polo GTI R5 with a 10-second gap on Skoda’s Kalle Rovanpera.