Dominant Tanak wins dusty Rally de Portugal

08:48 | 03/06/2019
Ott Tanak won the Rally de Portugal on Sunday (Jun 2) but Sebastien Ogier climbed to third on the final day to preserve his lead in the driver standings.
dominant tanak wins dusty rally de portugal
Ott Tanak took to the air in his Toyota on the 17th stage at Fafe in the Rally de Portugal. (AFP/MIGUEL RIOPA)

It was an eventful final day for Tanak's Toyota team-mate Kris Meeke who started Sunday in second position.

First, the Briton spun allowing Belgian Thierry Neuville to overtake. Meeke then went off the road in the final stage and had to retire allowing Ogier, who won the last power stage, to climb to third.

Tanak, who won the overall race by 15.9 seconds ahead of Neuville, has already won this year's Swedish and Chilean rallies.

"Definitely one of my hardest victories ever - we had to fight and we had a lot of problems," said the Estonian at the finish on Sunday.

Taking the final stage Frenchman Ogier scored valuable extra points in the overall standings but it also means he will start first in the next rally in Sardinia.

"This is kind of bad news because I wasn't planning on opening the road in Sardinia," Ogier said.

Tanak joked that he had allowed Ogier to win the last stage.

"I had to hit the brakes just before the finish line to make sure Seb opens the road in Sardinia!" he said.

Neuville, who won in Portugal last year, finished second to bounce back after a spectacular accident ended his previous race.

"Coming here after our huge crash in Chile and having such a good feeling in the car is great," Neuville said.

Neuville's second place lifted a difficult weekend for his Hyundai team, after the other two drivers, Frenchman Sebastien Loeb and Spaniard Dani Sordo, lost time on Friday with fuel supply problems.

AFP

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