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Ott Tänak wins Rally Finland

Ott Tänak (left) on the podium after the Neste Rally Finland win on Sunday, together with co-driver Martin Järveoja and team boss Tommi Mäkinen.
Ott Tänak (left) on the podium after the Neste Rally Finland win on Sunday, together with co-driver Martin Järveoja and team boss Tommi Mäkinen. Source: Kuvatõmmis

Estonian rally driver Ott Tänak won the WRC Neste Rally Finland on Sunday. Tänak, together with co-driver Martin Järveoja, took their Toyota Yaris to the top of the weekend's results table, making him the second Estonian driver to win the Finnish WRC event since Markko Märtin won there in 2003.

Taking a commanding 40 second lead over second placed driver Mads Østerberg of Norway going into the final day of the contest, Tänak beat the Norwegian and his co-driver, Torstein Eriksen, and also netted a maximum 30-point score by winning the powerstage.

The win is Tänak's second of the 2018 season, having finished first in Argentina in April.

The competition had started hard on Friday, with Østerberg's Citroën battling hard with the Toyota, only to fade on the Saturday. Tänak's teammate, eventual third placed man, Finn Jari-Matti Latvala challenging hard in his home race, helped boost this turnaround in fortunes.

With all the work done on the Saturday, Tänak could, if not take it easy, at least make good use of his 40-second cushion, which Østerberg was only able to reduce by a few seconds, leaving Tänak the victory by 32 seconds.

Rivals for the overall WRC Championship title, Sebastien Ogier of France and Thierry Neuville of Belgium, had a far less eventful time finishing in 7th and 10th places respectively, although the Finnish result shouldn't damage their championship chances too dramatically, as they remain in the top two spots.

Ott Tänak himself strengthens his third place position in the overall standings with 107 points after today's race, and with five more rounds to go before season end in Australia in November. Ogier remains in first place with 153 points and Neuville in second with 132 points.

Tänak, 30, from Kärla parish on Saaremaa, has raced in the WRC since 2009 and has to date four race victories to his name, including Sunday's Rally Finland. For the 2018 season he signed up for two seasons with the Toyota Gazoo Racing WRT team, managed by legendary Finnish former driver Tommi Mäkinen.

Editor: Andrew Whyte

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