Friday | 04 Sep 2020

Tänak tops Estonia shakedown

Home hero Ott Tänak laid down the gauntlet at Rally Estonia on Friday morning by setting fastest time in shakedown for the FIA World Rally Championship’s restart event.

Tenths of a second split the leading drivers through the 6.23km Abissaare test until the world champion pulled clear in his final two runs. He eventually ended 1.4sec faster than anyone else.

The Estonian’s time confirmed his status as pre-event favourite for this fourth round of the FIA World Rally Championship, which is visiting the Baltic state for the first time. The rally also marks the 600th WRC event since the series began in 1973.

The Hyundai i20 driver set the pace in the opening run, as one of just two drivers to break the three-minute mark. After returning to the Raadi service park in Tartu, Tänak went back out and lowered his earlier time by 1.6sec.

He completed his morning’s work by reducing the benchmark by a further 0.4sec to head championship leader Sébastien Ogier, driving a Toyota Yaris, who moved up the rankings with a strong final run.

M-Sport Ford’s Esapekka Lappi was third, a further tenth behind. The Finn completed five runs in his Ford Fiesta, making light of his lack of pre-event testing compared to others and posting his best time in the final pass.

Teenager Kalle Rovanperä claimed fourth in a Toyota Yaris, another tenth adrift, with Thierry Neuville 0.2sec behind the Finn in an i20. Elfyn Evans completed the top six.

Toyota’s Takamoto Katsuta overshot a junction in his first pass, but in worse trouble was Teemu Suninen.

Video: Rally Estonia fast facts

The M-Sport Ford driver emerged from his fourth run with front right damage to his Fiesta after going off the road and hitting a tree. Suninen drove the car back to service where his mechanics were examining the extent of the damage, which is reported not to be serious.

The leading times were:

Position Driver Car Time
1. Ott Tänak Hyundai i20 2min 56.8sec
2. Sébastien Ogier Toyota Yaris +1.4sec
3. Esapekka Lappi Ford Fiesta +1.5sec
4. Kalle Rovanperä Toyota Yaris +1.6sec
5. Thierry Neuville Hyundai i20 +1.8sec
6. Elfyn Evans Toyota Yaris +2.4sec
7. Craig Breen Hyundai i20 +2.6sec
8. Takamoto Katsuta Toyota Yaris +3.2sec
9. Pierre-Louis Loubet Hyundai i20 +3.4sec


• Full coverage from Rally Estonia will be available on WRC+ All Live here, including every stage broadcast as it happens as well as key interviews, features and expert analysis from the service park.