Ott Tanak took a dominant win on the fifth round of the World Rally Championship in Argentina over the weekend in his Toyota Yaris.
The Estonian finished 37 seconds in front of Thierry Neuville and closed the gap to Neuville and series leader Sebastien Ogier in the World Rally Driver’s Championship.
Tanak, on only his second gravel event with the Toyota team took the lead on Friday afternoon and proceeded to win 10 of the next 12 stages to stamp his authority on the event held in the foothills of the Andes near Cordoba.
“I can’t say it was easy,” said Tanak. “I was pushing really hard and living on the edge on Friday and Saturday.”
At the start of the final day he had a 45 second lead over Neuville and was able to ease off slightly to cement the victory.
“It’s nice to see how quickly we’re improving,” said Tanak of his own form and the team’s efforts in just its second season back in the WRC.
“The car is near enough to my liking.”
With Ogier only finishing fourth, Tanak is now only 28 points behind the Frenchman, while Neuville is within 10 points of the lead in the driver’s series.
The championship now heads to Portugal for more rock-strewn stages from May 17 to 20.
Rally Argentina, Round 5, WRC
1, O Tanak (Toyota Yaris) 3 hours 43 minutes 28.9 seconds;
2, T Neuville (Hyundai i20) 37.7 seconds behind;
3, D Sordo (Hyundai i20) 1.15.7;
4, S Ogier (Ford Fiesta) 1.58.6;
5, A Mikkelsen (Hyundai i20) 2.02.6;
6, E Evans (Ford Fiesta) 3.06.3.
World Driver’s Championship points:
1, Ogier, 100;
2, Neuville, 90;
3, Tanak, 72;
4, Mikkelsen, 54;
5, C Meeke (Citroen C3) 43;
6, E Lappi (Toyota Yaris) 40.