Drive DMACK duo Ott Tänak and Jari Ketomaa locked out the top places in WRC 2 after Thursday evening’s action at LOTOS 71st Rally Poland.
Tänak, who needs a strong result to boost his championship hopes after a troubled start to the season, leads his team-mate by 3.9sec after the opening three stages. Both are in Ford Fiesta R5 cars.
Estonian Tänak was fastest on the opening two sandy tests, although he believed he was driving cautiously.
“I'm trying to be really safe, but when you try to be really safe you have a lot going on in your head. I didn't have a good rhythm but when you have to be 100 per cent safe, it's hard to find that rhythm. But we’re working on it,” said Tänak.
Ketomaa survived an impact with a rock in SS2 to win the last stage in the dusty arena in the host town of Mikolajki.
Karl Kruuda is the closest pursuer, but the Estonian is already 31.0sec adrift in his Peugeot 208 T16. Kruuda completed the opening stage with the engine in safety road mode after issues with the pop-off valve.
Martin Kangur is four-tenths of a second behind his fellow countryman in fourth in a Ford Fiesta. Sébastien Chardonnet’s Citroen DS3 R5 and Valeriy Gorban’s Mini John Cooper Works complete the top six.
Nicolas Fuchs stopped in SS1 and struggled to restart his Fiesta R5. A dashboard warning of low fuel pressure looked ominous but the problem disappeared in the next test.
Bernardo Sousa damaged his Fiesta’s suspension after hitting a rock in SS2. The Portuguese pilot also suffered an engine misfire and is eighth tonight.
The only retirement was Rashid Al Ketbi. The United Arab Emirates driver crashed his Fiesta R5 in SS2.