Ott Tanak leads Toyota to rare podium sweep at WRC Rally Germany

Ott Tanak won for the thrid time in four rallies.

Ott Tanak won his third consecutive ADAC Rally Germany on Sunday afternoon to take another huge stride toward his first FIA World Rally Championship title — and ending the six-year championship run of Sebastian Ogier.

Tanak survived a late scare to claim his fourth victory in five rallies, leading Toyota to its first clean sweep of the podium since 1993 and the first in the WRC since Volkswagen swept the top-three spots on the podium at Rally Germany in 2015.

Brake problems on his Toyota Yaris in the penultimate speed test forced Tänak to drive cautiously through the closing Wolf Power Stage, but he had enough in hand to head Kris Meeke by 20.8 seconds with Jari-Matti Latvala a further 15.2 seconds behind.

Tanak extended his championship lead to 33 points over Meeke with four rounds remaining. Ogier is third in the standings, 40 points back of Tanak. Tanak’s Toyota Gazoo Racing squad closed to within eight points of leaders Hyundai Shell Mobis in the manufacturers’ standings after a 1-2-3 finish.

Ott Tanak’s win in Germany is his 11th career win in the World Rally Championship.

The four-day encounter was fought out on bumpy vineyard tracks in the Mosel, gruelling multi-surface tank training roads and smooth country lanes in the Saarland countryside.

Tänak gained control yesterday afternoon after a thrilling duel with title rival Thierry Neuville came to a premature end when the Belgian stopped to change a puncture on his Hyundai i20.

Tanak said he had mixed feelings after being unable to attack for bonus points in the final test.

“We started to have some issues in the previous stage so I couldn’t push. We only had one brake at the front. I’m not really happy about that, but we’re here and I am happy about that. The team has missed out on a 1-2-3 a few times so it is good to do that finally,” he said.

Meeke and Latvala eased through the final leg among the Mosel grapes, content to hold their positions and guarantee a stellar result for the Japanese manufacturer.

Dani Sordo completed the stages in fourth, but the Spaniard sacrificed the place when he incurred a penalty by leaving the final service late to allow teammate Neuville to move up from fifth and collect more championship points.

The championship moves to gravel next month for Rally Turkey, which takes place in Marmaris from September 12-15 .

Final standings – Rally Germany
1. Tänak/Järveoja, Estonia, Toyota Yaris 3 hours, 15 minutes, 29.8 seconds
2. Meeke /Marshall, Great Britain, Toyota Yaris +20.8 sec
3. Latvala/Anttila, Finland, Toyota, Yaris, +36.0sec
4. Neuville/Gilsoul Belgium, Hyundai, i20, +58.5sec
5. Sordo/del Barrio, Spain, Hyundai i20, +1min 16.6sec
6. Mikkelsen/Jaeger-Amland, Norway, Hyundai i20, +1min 46.2sec

FIA World Rally Championship Standings (after round 10 of 14)
1. Ott Tänak, 205 points
2. Thierry Neuville, 172 points
3. Sebastien Ogier, 165 points

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