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    Rally Italia Sardegna – Sunday – LATE HEARTBREAK FOR TÄNAK AND TOYOTA GAZOO Racing

    June 16, 2019
    After a very strong performance throughout the weekend, TOYOTA GAZOO Racing World Rally Team driver Ott Tänak was on course for his third straight victory on Rally Italia Sardegna when he was slowed in the very last stage by a steering issue. He ultimately finished in fifth position overall and ahead of his championship rivals on the gruelling gravel event, moving into the lead of the standings. Tänak, his co-driver Martin Järveoja and the Toyota Yaris WRC had won every stage on Saturday as they moved into the rally lead and built a 25.9-second advantage that they took into Sunday’s final four stages. He maintained that advantage through the opening three stages before the steering problem on the rally-ending Power Stage, causing him to lose over two minutes. Delayed by having to change a wheel on Saturday’s final test, Kris Meeke ended the rally in eighth position overall. Jari-Matti Latvala, who restarted yesterday following a retirement on the opening day, finished fourth in the Power Stage. Juho Hänninen, driving a fourth Yaris WRC entered privately by Tommi Mäkinen Racing, continued to gather useful testing data in the opening three stages before returning to service. Quotes: Tommi Mäkinen (Team Principal) “Today was one of the hardest moments for our team. Throughout the weekend, the car had shown such great performance and reliability. And then suddenly something happened in the final stage. Of course, we are investigating what caused the problem. It is a big disappointment for everybody, and especially difficult for Ott and Martin. They are leading the championship now but it would have been much better to go into the summer break having won each of the last three rallies. It will be a difficult feeling for the next few days, but I am sure that we can bounce back from this.” Jari-Matti Latvala (Driver car 10) “Today the target for me was to score some points on the Power Stage. I wanted to get into a nice rhythm this morning and keep the speed up. Then, on the third stage, I was just saving the tyres. The Power Stage was always going to be hard with our road position, and I struggled a bit in the ruts, but we had a decent run and we were able to take some points away. Overall it has been a tough weekend for me after the positive start. It’s not been the rally that we were hoping for. But we need to look forward and keep fighting.” PROVISIONAL FINAL CLASSIFICATION, RALLY ITALIA SARDEGNA 1 Dani Sordo/Carlos del Barrio (Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC) 3h32m27.2s 2 Teemu Suninen/Jarmo Lehtinen (Ford Fiesta WRC) +13.7s 3 Andreas Mikkelsen/Anders Jaeger-Amland (Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC) +32.6s 4 Elfyn Evans/Scott Martin (Ford Fiesta WRC) +33.5s 5 Ott Tänak/Martin Järveoja (Toyota Yaris WRC) +1m30.1s 6 Thierry Neuville/Nicolas Gilsoul (Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC) +2m16.7s 7 Esapekka Lappi/Janne Ferm (Citroën C3 WRC) +2m59.6s 8 Kris Meeke/Seb Marshall (Toyota Yaris WRC) +4m40.1s 9 Kalle Rovanperä/Jonne Halttunen (Skoda Fabia R5) +8m24.6s 10 Jan Kopecky/Pavel

    Rally Italia Sardegna – Saturday – TOYOTA GAZOO Racing HIT THE FRONT WITH A CLEAN SWEEP

    June 16, 2019
    Toyota Yaris WRC driver Ott Tänak leads Rally Italia Sardegna by 25.9 seconds going into the final day, after surging to the front with a superb clean sweep of six stage wins on Saturday. The longest day of the rally consisted of 142.42 competitive kilometres across two loops of three stages, with tyre wear expected to be a major consideration in warm temperatures on rough gravel roads. After his strong Friday at the front of the road order, Tänak began Saturday in third overall, and opted to take a mix of medium and hard-compound tyres during the morning when his rivals chose only hards. Tänak made the most of the superior grip, immediately gaining second place in the first stage and more than halving his deficit to the leader. He managed to sustain that performance over the whole morning loop to gain the rally lead on SS12, before extending his advantage through the afternoon when all drivers were on hard tyres. During the morning, Kris Meeke maintained his sixth position overall, and then began closing on the two drivers in front of him with increased pace in the afternoon. Unfortunately, in the day’s final stage he had to stop to change a tyre, losing two minutes and slipping to eighth place. After retiring in Friday’s final test, Jari-Matti Latvala restarted this morning and posted some competitive times despite having to run first on the road. Quotes: Tommi Mäkinen (Team Principal) “Ott did an absolutely great job today. Winning every stage and building his lead in this way: it was very impressive. He was up against some strong and consistent drivers and in some tough conditions, but he has a lot of confidence at the moment and seems very comfortable to push with the car. Now we just need him to bring it home tomorrow and I’m sure he can do it. As for Kris, it’s frustrating what happened to him in the final stage: It was good to see him building in speed as he gained more confidence on these stages. For Jari-Matti, it was important that he was back in the car today and I think his times were good considering he was first on the road.” Jari-Matti Latvala (Driver car 10) “The goal for today was to enjoy the driving, but it’s never easy to be first on the road. This morning was very good, I was actually very happy with the stage times for the road position that we had. The afternoon we tried something different with the setup and to have the car a bit stiffer, but it didn’t work for my driving style: I couldn’t feel the grip in the same way, so the times were not that great. But when I didn’t have that confidence I knew to stay calm and not make mistakes. Tomorrow we’ll go back to the setup we had this morning with some fine tuning, and hopefully we can get some points from the Power Stage.” END OF DAY THREE

    Rally Italia Sardegna – Friday – TOYOTA YARIS WRC FIGHTING FOR THE LEAD AFTER ANOTHER FINE FRIDAY PERFORMANCE

    June 14, 2019
    The TOYOTA GAZOO Racing World Rally Team enjoyed a strong first full day of Rally Italia Sardegna, with Ott Tänak firmly in the fight for the lead overnight after overcoming difficult conditions at the front of the road order. Team-mate Jari-Matti Latvala also led during the day before a small mistake cost him several minutes. The day consisted of two loops of four stages held in very hot and dry conditions on Sardinia, with temperatures peaking at around 40°c. Latvala produced a fine performance in the morning, taking the lead on SS4 and holding an advantage of 2.8 seconds over Tänak during mid-day service. On SS6, Latvala clipped the inside of a hairpin and rolled his car: He and co-driver Miikka Anttila worked hard in the searing heat to right the car but lost over eight minutes. Not giving up, Latvala returned to set a competitive time in the next test, before going off the road and retiring in SS9. The team will work to prepare the car to restart tomorrow. Tänak had to run second on the road during the morning and then first during the afternoon after the car in front of him retired. Despite having to sweep the loose gravel clear, he showed strong and consistent speed, including a stage win. In the afternoon he was further disadvantaged when a stage was cancelled after he passed through it, meaning he had tyres that were more worn than his direct rivals. He ended the day third, 11.2s from the leader and 0.4s behind second place. Having not contested the event last year, Kris Meeke was tackling stages that were new for him and finished the morning loop in eighth position. He was stronger on the second pass in the afternoon and ended the day sixth, less than half a minute from the rally lead. Driving a fourth Yaris WRC entered privately by Tommi Mäkinen Racing in his role as the team’s test driver, Juho Hänninen is ninth overall and was second fastest on SS8. Quotes: Tommi Mäkinen (Team Principal) “Overall it’s been quite a strong day for us. Jari-Matti was doing really well this morning and leading the rally, so it was a shame that he rolled this afternoon. It seems the car was still running OK after that, but then something happened with the steering in the final stage and he went off the road. Once again, Ott has been very strong on a Friday despite being at the front of the road order. It was a great job by him and he is in a good position going into tomorrow, even though he had to do an extra stage on his tyres this afternoon. I think Kris always knew today wouldn’t be easy as he didn’t know the stages, but I think he managed it well and he can move forward tomorrow.” Jari-Matti Latvala (Driver car 10) “We had a really good morning. It was very hot and I knew the tyre wear would be high
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