SS19: Tänak grabs second

Ott Tänak snatched second place from Elfyn Evans at Rally Guanajuato Mexico after winning Sunday morning’s opening speed test.

Stage info: SS19

Alfaro 1, 21.01km
Sunday’s opening test will be entrenched in drivers’ minds as two sections have already been driven in Saturday’s Otates. The opening half contains fast and flowing corners as it climbs and descends before becoming more technical as it moves into the second part.

The Toyota Yaris driver blasted through the shortened 21.10km Alfaro stage 4.2sec quicker than the Welshman’s Ford Fiesta. He turned a 2.2sec deficit into a 2.0sec advantage.

Tänak took a risk with his tyre choice for today’s final three stages. In contrast to Evans’ option of medium compound Michelin rubber, the Estonian opted for a mix of hard and medium tyres.

“We gambled a bit with the tyres. This was maybe the worst stage for them as it is early in the morning and quite loose. Hopefully the next ones will be better,” he said.

Evans remained in fighting mood. “We can keep trying, this stage was not bad to be honest. The feeling was OK and we can push in the next one,” said the Ford Fiesta pilot.

Leader Sebastien Ogier finished the stage 0.9sec adrift of Tänak in his Citroën C3 to preserve his advantage of almost half a minute. “I need to keep the speed because they are pushing hard behind,” said the Frenchman.

Kris Meeke conceded a minute but there were no concerns inside his Yaris. With more than seven minutes in hand over Benito Guerra, the Ulsterman was merely preserving his tyres ahead of a big push for bonus points in the Wolf Power Stage later.

Jari-Matti Latvala’s hopes of climbing further up the leaderboard suffered when he was penalised a minute for working illegally on his Toyota Yaris in the light fitting zone ahead of last night’s stages at León’s race track.

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