Rally rewind: Argentina 2018
Ott Tänak recovered from an early error to claim his first win for Toyota Gazoo Racing at YPF Rally Argentina 12 months ago. Here’s how he took his rivals apart in the south American pampas with an utterly dominant display
Leg 1: Friday
A half-spin in the opening dirt road speed test left him trailing Sébastien Ogier by nearly 25sec in his Toyota Yaris. The Estonian then won five of the next six special stages to build a 22.7sec lead over Kris Meeke and leave his rivals open-mouthed.
“It was a stupid mistake. I hit a rock, had a spin and broke something in the steering,” admitted Tänak, whose control was emphasised by the fact the next five drivers were covered by less than 20sec.
A final stage puncture cost Meeke a few seconds but the Citroën C3 driver headed Thierry Neuville, who bounced up and down the order all day. The Hyundai i20 driver eventually snatched third in the final test from team-mate Dani Sordo.
They were split by 0.9sec with Ogier a further 6.9sec behind in a Ford Fiesta after a sterling job limiting his time loss from first in the start order. Craig Breen was sixth in a C3, while Andreas Mikkelsen led for much of the morning before a puncture relegated him to seventh.
Leg 2: Saturday
Tänak demoralised the opposition to win five of the seven tests and widen his advantage to 46.5sec. Only a final stage scare prevented him from a clean sweep of the country road tests when a damaged shock absorber and power steering problems slowed him.
Neuville demoted Meeke from second on the rocky gravel tracks to head team-mate Sordo by 21.7sec. Sordo gained a podium place in the final stage when Meeke punctured and conceded more than two minutes, plunging to eighth.
Ogier was fourth, ahead of Mikkelsen and Esapekka Lappi, Finn Lappi losing 20sec after going off the road following an uncharacteristic pace note error from co-driver Janne Ferm.
Breen was the day’s major victim, the Irishman rolling his C3 out of sixth.
Leg 3: Sunday
Tänak eased through the classic El Condor and Giulio Cesare tests to seal his third WRC victory by 37.7sec.
Second for Neuville enabled him to narrow the gap to championship leader Ogier, helped by maximum bonus points for winning the Power Stage.
Sordo finished a further 38.0sec behind, while Ogier held off a determined final day charge from Mikkelsen to claim fourth. Elfyn Evans completed the top six in another Fiesta, after a puncture delayed Lappi.
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