Marmaris (Turkey) (AFP)
France's Sébastien Ogier (Citroën) on Sunday won the "lottery" of the tricky Turkish Rally, 11th in 14 of the WRC World Championship, taking advantage of his victory and the missteps of his competitors to return to the race On title.
His main opponent, the Estonian Tänak (Toyota), leader in the world championship, was forced to retire on Saturday. On Sunday, he scored 5 points at the Power Stage and now has 210 pts, 17 more than Ogier, who doubles the Belgian Thierry Neuville (Hyundai), only 8th this weekend and 30 points Tänak.
In three events of the end of the season (Great Britain from October 3 to 6, then Spain and Australia) with 90 points to take, everything is still possible, knowing that a first place ensures seven points more than the second.
Sébastien Ogier can therefore dream of reversing the situation, he who had already recovered the first place in the World Championship than the penultimate rally in 2018. "It was really necessary to take these points. it's a super-hard rally, it's a bit of a lottery, "he said, reducing the gap with Tänak by more than half.
- Ogier, turning? -
The Citroën driver had not won since the third rally of the season in Mexico in March. Worse, he was coming out of three complicated and podium-free events.
"We did not have a chance in Germany (the previous rally, where he finished seventh), we have a little more here, it's good for the team after some very complicated moments. we have to keep working, there is still a lot to improve, "nuance Ogier despite the first double Citroen of the season.
The six-time world champion is the only one of the drivers still in the fight for the title not to have suffered a setbacks on the Turkish roads, known to put the mechanics to hard tests with their rocky and brittle tracks, the high temperature and the average speed slow.
Estonian Ott Tänak, who had four wins over the last five rallies, had an electrical problem in a tie between the first two stages on Saturday, putting him out of action. A few minutes before, Neuville was at fault by hitting a stone, losing more than four minutes.
Only stakes remained on Sunday as the Power Stage: the two Citroën drivers were detached from their competitors and Ogier's teammate, the Finnish Esapekka Lappi, had already assured not want to embarrass the French in his fight for the title. Ott Tänak particularly took all the risks, rolling without spare wheel to lighten his Toyota by a few pounds.
"Bet 0 point, it's not really a bet," he justified. Successful mission, with five points which allow to take two units on Ogier, who finished 3rd of the last stage, and one on Neuville, second.
-Neuville, the loser-
Unlike other drivers, the Estonian chose medium tires, not hard ones like the majority of its competitors. "We know that the hard tires do not work with us," he said after the Power Stage, and two of the next three rallies are all rolled on gravel, as in Turkey.
The big loser of the weekend is Thierry Neuville, who drops his second place to Ogier, and could only take three points on Tänak, leaving himself at fault. "It's really a difficult weekend," admits the Belgian, who admits a mistake in driving. "After four minutes of loss, this is another rally," regrets the one who was in the same rhythm qu'Ogier.
His team Hyundai can however be satisfied with the performance of his teammates, which allow the team to get some air in the manufacturers' ranking, 19 points on Toyota.
© 2019 AFP