Friday | 03 Jul 2015

SS4: Tänak double earns Poland lead

Two consecutive stage victories promoted Ott Tänak to the top of the 72nd LOTOS Rally Poland leaderboard on Friday morning.

Stage info: SS3 / SS4

SS3: Goldap 1, 14.75km
Frequent surface changes make Goldap a tough challenge as the road switches from gravel to asphalt and vice-versa on three occasions. The width also varies - at the start and middle it is narrow, but wide elsewhere. Thick gravel means the road will clean after the first cars.

SS4: Babki 1, 14.65km
Babki, which runs close to the Russian enclave of Kaliningrad, is fast and varied. It starts on gravel but just after the midpoint it switches to a cobbled surface, and changes several times more in the following 1.5km as it twists and turns around houses. Dips in the road could cause problems.

He won the first pass through Goldap in his Ford Fiesta RS to relegate Andreas Mikkelsen to second by a tenth of a second. Tänak followed up with victory in Babki to increase his lead to 4.9sec.

“The car is perfect and I’m enjoying myself,” he said. “My instructions were to let the other guys know we’re here for the second half of the season and we’re competitive, so we’re trying to show them.”

Mikkelsen was second in Goldap and third in Babki in his Volkswagen Polo R, with Sébastien Ogier preserving third in the standings, 5.6sec behind his team-mate, courtesy of second fastest in Babki.

The Frenchman, first in the start order, said he was losing time cleaning the loose gravel from the roads. “I could have taken more risks in the first stage but I was flat out in the last two. It’s slippery and I can’t do more, so I hope that later I have better conditions,” he said.

Third in Goldap kept Jari-Matti Latvala in fourth overall, but the big mover was Hayden Paddon, who climbed from ninth to fifth in his Hyundai i20 with top five times in both tests.

Mads Østberg misjudged a crest in Babki and plunged off the road briefly in Citroën’s DS 3. “The speeds are so high that even a small mistake here makes the heart beat faster,” admitted the Norwegian.

Hanging dust in the forested section of Babki caused issues for several drivers, including Mikkelsen, Latvala and Thierry Neuville, while Dani Sordo struggled with pace note problems in his i20.

More News