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Tänak’s Night time Assault Leaves Sweden Rivals Trailing

Estonian overcomes late scare to demote Craig Breen on Saturday night.

Ott Tänak unleashed a night-time frenzy on Saturday at Rally Sweden, demoting Craig Breen to second general heading into Sunday’s three-stage finale.

The duelling duo traded occasions over the course of the rally’s longest day, with Breen holding on to a marginal benefit on the midway level.

Because the snow-covered roads grew to become increasingly more rutted within the fading gentle of the afternoon loop, Tänak started to reel in his Hyundai Motorsport rival – arriving to the beginning of the penultimate Sävar check simply half a second in arrears after Breen had suffered time loss with a delaminated tyre.

There, Tänak excelled within the night-time situations, with the cut up occasions exhibiting he was on track to outpace Breen by round 10sec. In one other dramatic twist, nonetheless, the Estonian suffered near-identical tyre troubles to his opponent – however nonetheless managed to raised the Irishman’s time by 2.8sec and snatch the lead.

Tänak was quicker once more as Breen complained of a hybrid challenge within the last Umeå blast. He ended 8.6sec to the great, laying the foundations for M-Sport Ford’s first victory in over a 12 months.

“It was a difficult day,” admitted Puma driver Tänak. “We had every thing deliberate for the final two phases – to maintain the tyres and make the time up there – however then we misplaced them, and we needed to do the final stage with no studs on one tyre. It’s by no means snug till it’s finished. Let’s get to the end first.”

Esapekka Lappi fell down the order after working extensive on a left-hander in SS13, plunging his Hyundai right into a snowbank. The Finn’s demise opened the door for Thierry Neuville and Kalle Rovanperä to struggle for the ultimate podium spot.

Rovanperä, driving a Toyota GR Yaris, held the higher hand till late within the day, however he gave solution to Hyundai’s Neuville within the last stage as his tyres wore out. The pair have been cut up by 3.8sec at shut of play, with Neuville solely 15.1sec adrift of Breen.

Elfyn Evans lacked confidence aboard his Yaris and subsequently fell behind the aforementioned pair, ending the day greater than half a minute additional again.

Pierre-Louis Loubet introduced his Puma house in sixth general forward of WRC2 chief Oliver Solberg, who holds a commanding lead within the premier help class. Ole Christian Veiby, Sami Pajari and Nikolay Gryazin full the leaderboard.

Three phases kind Sunday’s finale. Again-to-back runs of Västervik (26.48km) are up first earlier than one other run by Umeå (10.08km) kinds the bonus points-paying Wolf Energy Stage.

Main positions after Saturday:
1. O Tänak / M Järveoja EST Ford Puma 1hr 54min 45.4sec
2. C Breen / J Fulton IRL Hyundai i20 N +8.6sec
3. T Neuville / M Wydaeghe BEL Hyundai i20 N +23.7sec
4. Ok Rovanperä / J Halttunen FIN Toyota GR Yaris +27.5sec
5. E Evans / S Martin GBR Toyota GR Yaris +57.7sec
6. PL Loubet / N Gilsoul FRA Ford Puma +2min 28.1sec


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