Ott Tanak strikes mercilessly in the Arctic

The Estonian took advantage of his delayed starting position and escaped, leading Hyundai's double with Craig Breen supporting him.


No mercy. Ott Tanak has not forgiven his rivals in the first stage of the Arctic Rally. On the very fast and snowy Finnish stages the Estonian took advantage of his delayed starting position to escape at the head of the general classification, leading a Hyundai double, which placed Craig Breen in second position. After them came the young Kalle Rovanpera, who continues to dream of becoming the youngest winner in history before his audience.The starting position was definitive in the course of this first day, which consisted of two passes through the 31-kilometer Sarriojarvi stage, the longest of the rally. A very fast special, in which Rovanpera reached 203.9 km / h on the first pass, which was done during the day with fresh snow on its surface. The second, already at night, has been an ordeal due to the mud patches, which left the tires without nails.

Tanak started seventh after his abandonment in Monte Carlo, which allowed him to face the cleanest stages than his predecessors, who worked as snow plows for him. He prevailed in the last two and ended with a 16-second lead over Breen, 20 over Rovanpera and already half a minute over Thierry Neuville, who closed the top quartet.

Proof of the importance of the starting position is that Sebastien Ogier, seven-time world champion and recent winner in Monte-Carlo, finished ninth, 49 seconds behind Tanak. He has paid the toll of his leadership in the World Cup, which forced him to open the track and eat all the snow on the roads. Even young Oliver Solberg finished ahead of the Frenchman in his debut with a top-class car.

The second stage is the longest of the event, which for the first time brings the World Cup to Rovaniemi, the land of Santa Claus. With six stages and 144 timed kilometers, it could be definitive in the fight for victory.


1. Tanak-Jarveoja (Est / Hyundai) 31m 50.72. Breen-Nagle (Irl / Hyundai) at 16.23. Rovanpera-Halttunen (Fin / Toyota) 20.44. Neuville-Gilsoul (Bel / Hyundai) 29.85. Evans-Martin (Gbr / Toyota) 32

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