The Ford Fiesta star is 4m18.9s ahead of Nasser Al-Attiyah with five stages of the asphalt encounter remaining. Frigyes Turan is third, while championship leader Juho Hanninen has fought back to fourth following an action-packed day in Germany.
“There is not really a lot of reason for me to push,” said Estonian Tanak. “I’m just driving and enjoying it, as well as trying to get experience. The road was quite slippery in places but I had no problems today but for sure it’s quite difficult when I have nobody to fight with.”
Al-Attiyah is second overnight in his Barwa World Rally Team Fiesta. The Qatari, who has never tackled a WRC round on asphalt before, was slowed on Saturday morning when he lost second gear on the day’s opening stage.
“It’s not been easy because I am trying to keep the same pace and stay out of trouble,” said Al-Attiyah, whose Autotek Motorsport team completed a gearbox change at midday service. “It was a problem without the second gear on the hairpins and in the afternoon we had no reverse gear. I tried to do my best and second would be a good result.”
Karl Kruuda was second after Friday’s stages but a puncture on stage eight cost the Estonian teenager 50 seconds and dropped him down to third in his Skoda Fabia. It got worse for Kruuda when he went off on a tight right-hand hairpin on stage 12 and ripped the right-rear wheel from his car, which forced his retirement from the day.
Hungarian Frigyes Turan is third despite having to complete the 34.18 kilometres of the second Arena Panzerplatte stage with no powersteering on his Fiesta. “I’m very happy but now I don’t feel my arms,” he said.
Hanninen restarted on day two under SupeRally regulations and out of contention for victory after he broke a wheel off his Red Bull Skoda on stage six. His efforts to recover lost ground on Saturday were hampered by a powersteering glitch on stage eight and a front-left puncture 10 kilometres into stage 10 but he still managed to recover to fourth. “We had to stop to change so we lost even more time,” said Hanninen. “It’s disappointing but it is my first time here and maybe I was trying too much.”
Martin Prokop was also back in action following his crash on Friday morning. The Czech was fastest on every single stage today in his Fiesta to hold seventh overnight, one place behind Portugal’s Bernardo Sousa. “Everything was perfect today,” said Prokop. “I feel like I’m back in the race; it’s just a pity I lost so much time yesterday.”
Sousa, who was also returning under SupeRally rules, said: “I lost everything yesterday so I had nothing to lose today. Still it is more like a test for me. I pushed a little bit to try to find the limits, especially on stage eight.”
Wildcard Felix Herbold’s challenge ended when he crashed his Fiesta on stage seven. Countryman Hermann Gassner Jr was forced to retire when a double puncture on his Skoda meant he was unable to complete the road section back to midday service in Trier following the first Panzerplatte stage.