Tänak battles engine issues as Neuville extends lead

Two of Hyundai's drivers continue to battle for the lead of Ypres Rally, while Tänak works hard not to lose time


Ott Tänak is carrying an engine issue aboard his Hyundai but he continues to hold third overall after six stages of the Ypres Rally while Thierry Neuville extended his lead.

Tänak won the first stage of the rally but struggled to maintain that form thereafter, falling adrift of his two team-mates Neuville and Craig Breen.

The 2019 World Rally Champion is 24s adrift of rally leader Neuville after SS6, dropping 3.6s of those seconds on the most recent stage as he battled an issue.

He arrived to the stop-line without his rear-left window, exactly like Pierre-Louis Loubet had on the previous test, but that wasn’t the big drama.

In fact the stage-end reporter had to mention to Tänak that he was missing it. Tänak looked over his shoulder, nudged co-driver Martin Järveoja and said: “He just didn’t put it back correctly I think.”


Tänak added: “We have some issue with the engine so we are trying to get through, but luckily it’s driving OK so not too bad.”

Out front, Neuville has edged another 1.5s clear of Breen to lead the rally by 4s overall.

“I could’ve been a little bit later on the brakes, maybe a little bit more aggressive in the junctions so it’s working like this, no need to push more,” he said.

Breen, who won the first pass of this stage, countered: “Our run on the first time was nearly perfect, I’m just trying not to make any mistakes.”

Half a minute back, Kalle Rovanperä has edged closer to Evans’ fourth position, beating his Toyota team-mate by 3.2s to close to just 1.9s behind overall. Evans meanwhile is 3.5s behind Tänak’s third place.

For the first time all weekend though, Sébastien Ogier was the quickest Toyota on SS6 as he outpaced Rovanperä by 0.3s.


Photo: Toyota Gazoo Racing

When told he’d lost 3.5s to Ogier, the only car to have completed the test before him, Evans said: “I thought I had a good run but obviously my feelings are lying to me because he’s taken quite a chunk out of me.”

Takamoto Katsuta has continued his learning process in seventh overall, 31.3s behind Ogier and 1m08.9s shy of the rally leader.

Pierre-Louis Loubet is a further 1m11.2s behind Katsuta in his 2C Competition Hyundai, collecting a puncture despite driving “always on the line”.

SS6 times

1 Thierry Neuville/Martijn Wydaeghe (Hyundai) 10m27.0s
2 Craig Breen/Paul Nagle (Hyundai) +1.5s
3 Sébastien Ogier/Julien Ingrassia (Toyota) +2.6s
4 Kalle Rovanperä/Jonne Halttunen (Toyota) +2.9s
5 Ott Tänak/Martin Järveoja (Hyundai) +3.6s
6 Elfyn Evans/Scott Martin (Toyota) +6.1s

Leading positions after SS6

1 Neuville/Wydaeghe 52m58.2s
2 Breen/Nagle +4.0s
3 Tänak/Järveoja +24.0s
4 Evans/Martin +27.5s
5 Rovanperä/Halttunen +29.4s
6 Ogier/Ingrassia +37.6s
7 Takamoto Katsuta/Keaton Williams (Toyota) +1m08.9s
8 Pierre-Louis Loubet/Florian Haut-Labourdette (2C Competition Hyundai) +2m20.1s
9 Teemu Suninen/Mikko Markkula (M-Sport Ford) +4m18.0s
10 Yohan Rossel/Alexandre Coria (Citroën) +4m26.8s