Ott Tanak has a comfortable lead of 43,7 seconds in rally Germany before the final leg of the event. He was battling with the world champion Sebastien Ogier until he had to stop to change a damaged wheel on the afternoon running of the Panzerplatte stage.
That cost him around 1m40s and dropped him from second to ninth. He eventually finished the day 7th, but lost all the chances for the victory.
In contrast to yesterday’s dominance, Tanak failed to win any of 8 eight speed tests, but was in a strong position to add to last month victory in Finland.
“It was a mega fight today with Seb. We were pushing really hard and I wasn’t feeling too comfortable in the first loop. It was a very tough morning, Tanak said. – I knew it would be completely different to yesterday, there was a lot that was new to me that I had to adjust to and we had too much understeer.”
“I pushed as much as I can, said Ogier. – Now it’s full risk because I have nothing to lose any more. It’s disappointing and at this moment you just want to cry. We put in a lot of effort this weekend but don’t have the benefit of it.”
Dani Sordo and Jari-Matti Latvala are split by 0.8sec in a fierce fight for second. Sordo won three of the military road stages in his Hyundai i20, while Yaris pilot Latvala had the edge on the country lanes. He won two tests.
Neuville struggled for pace in his i20. His team reinstalled the differential and gearbox that was replaced yesterday after an oil leak, but Neuville never found a comfortable rhythm as the championship battle played on his mind. He ended 8.0sec behind Latvala.
Esapekka Lappi was fifth in another Yaris, 6.3sec further back. Andreas Mikkelsen was sixth after frustrations with the handling of his i20, half a second clear of Ogier. Teemu Suninen, Mads Østberg and Craig Breen completed the leaderboard. Breen was sixth until he crashed in the final stage and damaged his Citroën C3’s rear left suspension.
WRC standings after SS15 –
1. Tänak 2h 23m 27.1sec
2. Sordo +43.7sec
3. Latvala +44.5sec
4. Neuville +52.5sec
5. Lappi +58.8sec
6. Mikkelsen +1m 50.7sec. #WRC
— WRC (@OfficialWRC) August 18, 2018