Ott Tanak has moved to within two points of the World Rally Championship lead after notching up his third win of the season on the Rally de Portugal.

The Estonian took control of the event from SS3 when early leader Dani Sordo hit problems, Tanak extending his advantage to more than 20secs, only for a damper issue to peg him back at the end of the second leg.

Coming into the final day only four seconds ahead of Toyota Gazoo Racing team-mate Kris Meeke, Tanak nonetheless pulled clear when it mattered to complete his seventh career WRC win and his sixth in Toyota colours.

Lifting him right back into title contention just two points adrift of Sebastien Ogier, Tanak would have moved ahead had Meeke not retired on the final stage and elevated the Citroen driver up to a more lucrative third place.

“It feels great to stand on the top step of the podium. It’s been a long and very tough weekend, definitely the hardest win I’ve ever had. From Friday, our performance was really strong, especially considering our road position.

“On Saturday we had to fight really hard, but today everything was working well and the speed was there. In the first stage I was a bit careful, as there was a lot of tricky dust and it was difficult to see anything, but after this we could safely push a bit more and build a bigger gap.

“The championship is looking really tight but I think we are in a good position going to Sardinia.”

 

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