Ott Tänak finishes eighth in WRC Rally Estonia

WRC Rally Estonia day three, Saturday, July 22, 2023.
WRC Rally Estonia day three, Saturday, July 22, 2023. Source: Karli Saul

Ott Tänak finished eighth before a home crowd at WRC Rally Estonia this season, while Finnish driver Kalle Rovanperä dominated the event for Toyota, and took victory.

This was the reigning WRC champion's third Rally Estonia victory in a row, while from Saturday onward, the Finn was practically in a race of his own, cleaning up all 13 stages in a row and equaling a record set by nine-time French world champion Sebastien Loeb, in 2008.

For Ott Tänak, the race started about as badly as it could do in the M-Sport Ford Puma, after picking up a five-minute penalty incurred by switching out the car's engine following the shakedown morning session Thursday.

Tänak battled hard on the Thursday evening and Friday, winning six stages and bringing himself up to eighth place, though he and co-driver Martin Järveoja were unable to improve on this.

The Estonian had won the inaugural WRC Rally Estonia event, in 2020; Rovanperä has won on the South Estonian course every time since then.

Belgian Thierry Neuville in the Hyundai came second, followed by another Finn, Esapekka Lappi (Toyota) and, in fourth place, Welshman Elfyn Evans, also in a Toyota Yaris. Tänak's teammate in the Ford Puma, Pierre-Louis Loubet, overtook Takamoto Katsuta (Japan, Toyota) to finish fifth.

Rally Estonia 2023 final standings. Source: WRC

After a promising Sunday, Estonian second-tier WRC2 drivers Georg Linnamäe (Hyundai) Robert Virves (Ford) and Egon Kaur (Škoda) finished fourth, fifth and seventh in their home race. The category was won by Norwegian Andreas Mikkelsen (Škoda).

The next race is next door in Finland, starting August 3-6. Four more WRC events follow in the 2023 calendar.

Ott Tänak remains fourth in the WRC drivers' table on 104 points after the weekend's events, behind Rovanperä (170), Evans (115) and Neuville (112).


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Editor: Andrew Whyte, Anders Nõmm

Source: ERR Sport

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