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Ott Tanak gets maiden WRC win in Italy

Ott tanak
An incident with Paddon’s car on Saturday handed him the lead, and the win

M-Sport’s Ott Tanak won Rally Italia Sardegna, racking up his first ever WRC victory and adding to M Sport’s tally for the season. Toyota’s Jari-Matti Latavla finished a strong second, just 12.3 seconds behind Tanak with Hyundai’s Thierry Neuville in third place.

Hyundai was looking to replicate its success at Rally Sardania, and they got off to a good start with Thierry Neuville winning the superspecial of Thursday. Meeke got off to a strong start on Friday, leading the first two stages. However a crash in SS5 caused him to lose 7 minutes and sent him tumbling down the standings. Meanwhile Hyundai’s Hayden Paddon climbed in to the lead, with Toyota’s Juho Hanninen right behind him. Paddon continued to lead the charge on Friday, meanwhile his teammate Neuville drove spectacularly to climb up to second. Ott meanwhile made it to third.

Paddon continued to lead the rally on Saturday, but Neuville hit brake trouble and dropped to fourth, and that allowed Tanak to move in to second, 9 seconds behind Paddon. Latvala made in to third with his Toyota teammates Hanninen and Lappi in fifth and sixth.  Later in the day, Tanak managed to claim the lead in the rally when Paddon’s car crashed and damaged the rear wheel in SS13. Tanak claimed a few stage wins, and extended his lead to 24.3 seconds by the end of the day.

Tanak held on to his lead on the final day of the rally – Latvala managed to claw back 12 seconds on the leader but this wasn’t enough to pip him from the elad. Neuville brought his Hyundai i20 coupe home in second.

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Aatish Mishra

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