Ott Tanak, lead driver in the Toyota Gazoo Racing World Rally Team, heads the World Rally Championship for the first time in his career after winning the Rally of Sweden last night.
He steered his Toyota Yaris through the short final leg on snow and ice-covered roads to win the second round of the FIA World Rally Championship by a comfortable 53.7 seconds. The Estonian’s success carried him to a seven-point lead in the championship after two rounds.
Tanak became the fourth non-Scandanavian to win the championship’s only pure winter rally. It was Tanak’s seventh WRC triumph.
He led the four-day event early on but slipped back as conditions turned against him on Friday afternoon. He regained the lead when closest rival Teemu Suninen spun into the snow. Tanak extended the lead through Saturday to almost a minute and had a relatively easier three stages on Sunday.
The Toyota Gazoo Racing World Rally Team leads the manufacturers title with Toyota Gazoo driver Kris Meeke finishing in sixth place in his Yaris. Meeke managed to fend off nine-time champion Sebastien Loeb, who finished only 10 seconds behind Meeke in seventh place.
The championship switches to gravel next month for the first time this season. Rally Guanajuato Mexico runs from 7 – 10 March.
Rally of Sweden results:
- Ott Tanak, 2 hours 47 minutes 30 seconds
- Esapekka Lappi, +53.7. seconds behind
- Thierry Neuville, +56.7 behind
- Andreas Mikkelsen, +1:05.4 behind
- Elfyn Evans, +1:08.2 behind
- Kris Meeke, +1:38.8 behind
World Driver’s Championship:
- Tanak, 47 points
- Neuville, 40
- Ogier, 31
World Manufacturer’s Championship:
- Toyota Gazoo Racing WRT, 58
- Hyundai, 57
- Citroen, 47