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Tänak wins inaugural WRC Rally Chile

Ott Tänak, winner of the inaugural WRC Rally Chile held 9-12 May, 2019.
Ott Tänak, winner of the inaugural WRC Rally Chile held 9-12 May, 2019. Source: Toyota Gazoo Racing WRT

Ott Tänak won the inaugural WRC Rally Chile on Sunday, bringing him up to second place in the driver standings.

Starting off in third place on the Thursday, in wet conditions, Tänak also got off to a slow start in the Toyota Yaris on the Friday, killing the engine in the opening race and seeing the second attempt interrupted due to crowd safety concerns, ERR's online Estonian sports portal reports.

However he soon became dominant, posting the fastest times throughout the rest of the day, and getting through Saturday unscathed, unlike some other drivers, including Toyota Gazoo Racing teammate Kris Meeke (Northern Ireland) and former series leader Thierry Neuville (Belgium), in a Hyundai, both of whom crashed.

Tänak, 31, from Saaremaa, took the maximum 30 points (25+5) from the event by finishing strongly over second and third placed drivers Sébastien Ogier (France, Citroen) and Sébastien Loeb (France, Hyundai), leading them by over half a minute in the closing stages.

Rally Chile was the second win of the season for Tänak, recently the subject of a biopic, and co-driver and fellow Estonian Martin Järveoja. He is currently ranked second in the drivers standings, behind Sébastien Ogier (winner of the last six consecutive drivers' titles) and ahead of Thierry Neuville of Belgium, last season's runner up and this season's table-leader going into the Chile event.

Chile held a candidate rally event last year and was awarded full WRC status for the first time this year, logically following the last rally in neighboring Argentina. The Chilean race is hald in the Biobío Region, around the city of Concepción.

Editor: Andrew Whyte

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