Ott Tanak romps to spectacular Rally Sweden victory
Toyota's Ott Tanak has romped to Rally Sweden victory by almost a minute and capped off the event by taking the full five additional powerstage points.
Tanak went 3.5 seconds faster than anyone else in the powerstage in a spectacular finish to the event in slushy conditions.
The Estonian had led the rally since Saturday morning and had quietly gathered a comfortable lead over the rest of the pack.
Esapekka Lappi held on to take second, although it had appeared that the Citroen driver would concede the position to Thierry Neuville right until the final section of the powerstage.
Neuville struggled with the conditions on Sunday morning but a collection of slow times for Hyundai team-mate Andreas Mikkelsen kept him in the final podium spot.
Mikkelsen went into Sunday exactly tied with Lappi but dropped 6.8 seconds to the Finn in the first run of Likenas alone.
Elfyn Evans ended up as the highest-placed M-Sport driver in fifth with three stage wins across the wintery event.
Toyota's Kris Meeke claimed the accolade of longest jump over Colin’s Crest and finished in sixth, 10 seconds ahead of Sebastien Loeb.
Loeb struggled to reacclimatise to his first Rally Sweden in six years although his pace improved across the event to finish seventh.
In the third M-Sport car Pontus Tidemand battled against a multitude of technical problems across the early part of the rally including a throttle pedal sensor failure.
He achieved eighth in the final of his confirmed outings for 2019.
Ole Christian Veiby was the WRC2 winner in ninth ahead of Janne Tuohino in an independent Fiesta.
Mads Ostberg took the WRC2 Pro victory.
Reigning champion Sebastien Ogier could only snatch two powerstage points after getting stuck in a snowbank on Friday that was far from the help of spectators.
Both Jari-Matti Latvala and Teemu Suninen completed the rally under Rally2 conditions after similar snowbank experiences.
The pair were battling for the rally led going into Saturday, with Suninen leading an event for the first time in his career.
Rally Sweden Top 8:
1. O. Tanak (Toyota)
2. E. Lappi (Citroen)
3. T. Neuville (Hyundai)
4. A. Mikkelsen (Hyundai)
5. E. Evans (M-Sport)
6. K. Meeke (Toyota)
7. S. Loeb (Hyundai)
8. P. Tidemand (M-Sport)