Tanak/Jarveoja (Toyota) on lead after the first gravel day
Posted by WRC - 26/10/18 03:21PM - 0 Comments - WRC - 1/52/53/54/55/5

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· The longest RallyRACC leg, on gravel throughout, concluded this Friday
· Large crowds gathered to follow live the 69 cars still motoring on
· Rain is expected for tomorrow's sealed surface leg

Ott Tänak/Martin Järveoja (Toyota Yaris WRC) top the 54 RallyRACC overall standings after today's six gravel special stages, moving one notch up in their quest for the World Championship title. The other two main contenders, Ogier/Julien Ingrassia (Ford Fiesta WRC) and Thierry Neuville/Nicolas Gilsoul (Hyundai i20 Coupé WRC), dropped way behind. Spanish driver Dani Sordo/Carlos del Barrio (Hyundai i20 Coupé WRC) put up a remarkable performance and currently owns second place, followed by Elfyn Evans/Daniel Barritt (Ford Fiesta WRC).

After yesterday's opening street stage in Barcelona, the second leg of the RallyRACC 2018 comprised three mostly gravel stages run twice. All but one of the 70 cars in yesterday's entry list left PortAventura World rally base heading to the first loop of Gandesa (7km), Pesells (26.59km) and La Fatarella-Vilalba (38.85km) special stages. Ott Tänak/Martin Järveoja (Toyota) clinched the fastest time in Gandesa, and moved into an overall lead they were never to relinquish after Pesells, steadily increasing the gap from their rivals.

The running order proved decisive. Tänak was the only driver in the title-chasing trio to show a consistent pace. Team-mate Jari-Matti Latvala and co-driver Mikka Anttila clinched the fastest times in both Pesells passes. An unlucky puncture in the first La Fatarella-Vilalba pass sent Latvala off the second place, while Andreas Mikkelsen/Anders Jaeger (Hyundai i20 Coupé WRC) clocked in the fastest time.

The first loop finished with Ott Tänak topping the timesheet, followed by Elfyn Evans/Daniel Barritt (Ford Fiesta WRC, + 11.7sec) and local heroes Dani Sordo/Carlos del Barrio (Hyundai i20 Coupé WRC). They all capitalized on their late place in the running order, as the line was cleaner for them than for championship challengers Thierry Neuville/Nicolas Gilsoul (Hyundai) and Sébastien Ogier/Julien Ingrassia (Ford Fiesta WRC), who took the start much earlier.

Road conditions improved in the afternoon of a cloudy day with abundant sunny spells and a pleasant temperature reaching 20ºC. Dani Sordo conquered the second Gandesa test after a remarkably strong run, while Jari-Matti Latvala worked hard to make up for the morning puncture and eagerly moved on to win the other two tests.

Large crowds gathered on the roads today and, after six legs, Ott Tänak/Martin Järveoja (Toyota) lead the overall standings with a healthy 26.8sec gap over Dani Sordo/Carlos del Barrio (Hyundai), who showed great consistency throughout the leg. Elfyn Evans/Daniel Barritt (Ford, + 29.7sec) shot to a surprising third place, vaulted by their place in the running order. Sébastien Loeb/Daniel Elena (Citroën) effective drive earned 4th place overall (+ 30.2sec), as they made the most of their late start down the order.

Jari-Matti Latvala/Mikka Anttila (Toyota) sit fifth in the standings, ahead of Andreas Mikkelsen/Anders Jaeger (Hyundai), whose performance ebbed as the day progressed. Both Sébastien Ogier/Julien Ingrassia (Ford) and Thierry Neuville/Nicolas Gilsoul (Hyundai) lost substantial ground to Tänak in their championship battle. In WRC2, Eric Camilli/Benjamin Veillas leads the class in a fantastic debut for the brand-new Volkswagen Polo GTI R5, ahead of the newly-crowned champion Jan Kopecký.

The third day of the rally will be marked by seven special stages run over sealed surface, totalling 121.80 timed kilometres. Savallà (14.12km), Querol (21.26km) and El Montmell (24.40km) stages will be raced in two loops. Esport3 and TVE Teledeporte TV channels will broadcast both El Montmell loops live (at 10:08 and 17:00 hours). The day will conclude with the classic street stage in Salou waterfront, scheduled at 17:00 hours.

54 RallyRACC: Overall standings after day 2
1-Ott Tänak/Martin Järveoja (Toyota Yaris WRC), 1h34'27''4
2-Daniel Sordo/Carlos del Barrio (Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC), + 26''8
3-Elfyn Evans/Daniel Barritt (Ford Fiesta WRC), + 29''7
4-Sébastien Loeb/Daniel Elena (Citroën C3 WRC), + 30''2
5-Jari-Matti Latvala/Mikka Anttila (Toyota Yaris WRC), + 37''6
6-Andreas Mikkelsen/Anders Jaeger (Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC), + 39''1
7-Sébastien Ogier/Julien Ingrassia (Ford Fiesta WRC), + 39''4
8-Craig Breen/Scott Martin (Citroën C3 WRC), + 44''7
9-Thierry Neuville/Nicolas Gilsoul (Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC), + 59''7
10-Esapekka Lappi/Janne Ferm (Toyota Yaris WRC), + 1'07''4
11-Teemu Suninen/Mikko Markkula (Ford Fiesta WRC), + 2'25''1
12-Eric Camilli/Benjamin Veillas (Volkswagen Polo GTI R5, 1st WRC2), + 3'56''5
13-Kalle Rovanperä/Jonne Halttunen (Skoda Fabia R5, 2nd WRC2), + 4'08''3
14-Petter Solberg-Veronica Engan (Volkswagen Polo GTI R5, 3rd WRC2), + 4'16"09
15-Jan Kopecký/Pavel Dresler (Skoda Fabia R5, 4th WRC2), + 4'17''6
16-Nil Solans/Marc Martí (Ford Fiesta R5, 5th WRC2), + 4'38''5



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