The Estonian won Sunday the Arctic Rally, the second round of the WRC world championship contested behind closed doors in Finland. An event that did not smile at all on the French world champion.
The Arctic Rally, which replaced the Swedish Rally canceled due to a pandemic, delighted Ott Tänak. The 2019 world champion won this unprecedented round in the WRC after a perfectly started race on Friday, through the snow-covered forests of Lapland. “We had a very good weekend, nothing too much, just one mistake yesterday,” commented the Estonian at the finish of the last special. A success that allows him to forget his abandonment on the side of Monte-Carlo at the start of the season a big month ago. A victory built without taking excessive risk, as he confided on Saturday evening with a smile: “We especially had to go at the end of the afternoon and we made no mistakes. We were still attacking a little this morning, but it was important to avoid the pitfalls in the afternoon. The last stage was quite stressful, but we didn’t need to increase our pace. ”
“I couldn’t do more, I was at the limit. It’s like that ! It was good to come here, it’s a nice place for a rally ”
The reigning world champion, Sébastien Ogier, finished, far behind, more than 10 minutes from the lead, due to a road accident. 200 meters from the finish of the last special on Saturday, the Frenchman’s Toyota finished its race in a wall of snow. He crossed the finish line about twenty minutes later. “We started a little too far to the side and we hung up the snow wall, it’s a shame but it’s a weekend to forget,” commented Ogier. This Sunday, the Gapençais managed current affairs, without succeeding in really shining on the power stage where he only grabs the point of 5th place. “There was still too much sweep. I couldn’t do more, I was at the limit. It’s like that ! It was good to come here, it’s a great place for a rally, ”he commented on his Facebook account.
Rovanperä leading the Championship
For the podium, the Belgian Thierry Neuville, fighting with Kalle Rovanperä for second place, completed the podium. If he never managed to overtake the Estonian in the general classification, Rovanperä, 20, still signs the good operation of the weekend by temporarily seizing the lead of the drivers’ championship – recovering in the process 5 additional ranking points in the closing Power Stage. Off the road, this second round of the championship was marked by the announcement on Saturday of the death at the age of 78 of Finnish rally legend Hannu Mikkola, world champion in 1983. Numerous motor sport personalities, such as the president of the Federation International Automobile Industry (FIA) Jean Todt or world champions Carlos Sainz, Sébastien Ogier and Petter Solberg, paid tribute to him.