Anna Duxbury  |    |   0  |  16 February 2019

Tanak holds comfortable lead as second place drivers tie

Ott Tanak has a comfortable lead at the end of Saturday’s Rally Sweden stages while behind Andreas Mikkleson and Esapekka Lappi are tied for second.

The Toyota driver took the lead in the opening stage of the day after beating overnight leader Teemu Suninen by 3.8 seconds and pulled out a comfortable advantage as Suninen lost time sliding into a snow bank.

The Finn was able to escape with the aid of willing spectators but dropped down to eighth.

Another off in the second run of Vergasen however meant Suninen was forced to retire after a collision with a tree damaged the Fiesta’s rollcage.

Mikkelsen inherited second after Suninen’s misfortunes but was rapidly hunted down by the Citroen of Lappi.

Lappi had a very clean day that allowed him to move from fifth to third and get within 0.4 seconds of lead Hyundai driver Mikkelsen going into Saturday’s final stage and a quicker time by 0.4 seconds gave both drivers an overall time of 2min20.26.2s.

Thierry Neuville sits in fourth and very much still in the fight, a mere two seconds behind second place despite an elegant pirouette into a snowbank.

Elfyn Evans is in fifth, ahead of Toyota’s Kris Meeke, who was able to achieve the longest jump over Colin’s Crest during the event.

Sebastien Loeb spent the afternoon closing in on Meeke and goes into Sunday a second and a half behind the Northern Irishman.

Pontus Tidemand holds on to eighth in the third M-Sport car and Jari Huttunen, who took the stage win in Friday’s Torsby run, is the lead WRC2 driver in ninth place, with Emil Lindholm in tenth.

Reigning champion Sebastien Ogier is in 43rd after repeatedly delaying his starting position for the benefit of Citroen team-mate Lappi in the afternoon stages.

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