Tanak Extends Rally Sweden Lead

At the end of day 2 on Rally Sweden, Andreas Mikkelsen and Esapekka Lappi are tied for second place behind Ott Tanak. With three stages remaining and Thierry Neuville a close fourth, Tanak managed his gap on Saturday's final two stages on the short Karlstad superspecial first used on Thursday and a shortened version of Friday's last stage, Torsby Sprint.

The main action however was between Mikkelsen, Lappi and Neuville over second place, with Lappi 1.9s behind in fourth and Neuville 4.5s off his Hyundai team-mate after the afternoon rerun of Saturday morning's three stages. Citroen driver Lappi carved 1.5s out of Mikkelsen's advantage on the Karlstad superspecial and then won back another 0.4s through Torsby Sprint, leaving the pair dead level, both 54.5s behind Tanak's Toyota.

Hovering close behind, Neuville won the day-ending Torsby Sprint, taking over a second out of Mikkelsen on each of the two short tests to finish 2.3s behind the tied pair. Elfyn Evans lost four seconds to Neuville across those two stages, casting him further adrift of the podium battle that he had been part of this morning. He remains fifth, 11.9s off Neuville.

A battle for sixth between Kris Meeke and Sebastien Loeb had looked set to go Loeb's way based on his pace earlier in the afternoon, and they headed to the pair of superspecials separated by only 0.5s. A strong run from Meeke opened that gap up, though Loeb claimed half a second back on Torsby Sprint to finish the day 1.6s adrift of Meeke in seventh. Pontus Tidemand continues to hold eighth place.

Leading positions after SS16
Pos Driver Team Car Gap
1 Ott Tanak, M.Jarveoja Toyota Gazoo Racing WRT 2h19m31.7s
2 Esapekka Lappi, J.Ferm Citroen Total WRT 54.5s
2 Andreas Mikkelsen, A.Jager Hyundai Shell Mobis WRT 54.5s
4 Thierry Neuville, N.Gilsoul Hyundai Shell Mobis WRT 56.8s
5 Elfyn Evans, S.Martin M-Sport Ford WRT 1m08.7s
6 Kris Meeke, S.Marshall Toyota Gazoo Racing WRT 1m36.5s
7 Sebastien Loeb, D.Elena Hyundai Shell Mobis WRT 1m38.1s
8 Pontus Tidemand, O.Floene M-Sport Ford WRT 3m08.0s
9 Janne Tuohino, M.Markkula Janne Tuohino 7m17.3s
10 Lorenzo Bertelli, S.Scattolin M-Sport Ford WRT 11m58.3s

16th February, 2019

Suninen leads in Sweden

M-Sports. Teemu Suninen leads his first WRC event in Sweden from Ott Tanaks Toyota and Andeas Mikkelsens Hyundai. Jari-Matti Latvala and Sebastien Ogier had been fighting in the leading group of cars but both went off into snow banks and lost varying amounts of time, retiring for the day to return under Rally 2 conditions for the second day.

Elfyn Evans is fourth, Esapekka Lappi fifth for Citroen and Sebastien Loeb sixth on his first snow rally for 6 years. Thierry Neuville is 7th and Kris Meeks eighth, 53 seconds down on the leader.

15th February, 2019

Gallant Renault R8 Wins 2019 Monte Historiqe

Worthy winners of the Monte Carlo Historique Rally are French crew Michel Badosa/Mogens Reidl in their Renault R8 and who'd featured in the top 10 for most of the rally, as did second place Italian crew Allesio De Angelis/Sergio Sisti in a front-wheel drive Fiat Ritmo 60 and, fellow Italians, Massimo Canella/Nicholas Arena in the 1.3 engine Lancia Fulvia Coupe in third.

Behind the first three, small engined saloons in a commendable fourth place was the ungainly 1959 wire-wheeled Jaguar XK 150 Coupe, expertly driven by Lithuanian Karolis Raisys, with Latvian co-driver Ilya Zakmans reading the maps and calculating the timing on the key regularity stages in the Alps Maritimes.

Best British crew is the Rover 2000 SC of Ranald White and Karsten Brown in 111th place, also winners of the venerable Tyresoles Trophy as best placed IRDC Crew. They were followed by the 1600 Porsche 356B of Jonathan and Christine Miles in 117th position and the Ford Escort RS 1600 of Xerxes Matten and Clifford Debond 134th.

The 22nd edition of the Monte Carlo Historiqe will be remembered for the extremely challenging and changing combination of road conditions - from dry fast tarmac to ice and falling snow - with some mountain mist and fog thrown in for good measure! Well done to all finishers and commiserations to those forced to retire. Here's to the 23rd glorious running of the Historique in January 2020.

7th February, 2019

Monte Carlo Rally Day 4

Rally leaders after Day 4 are still the French crew of Michel Badosa/Mogens Reidl in their Renault R8, ahead of Italians Massimo Canella/Nicholas Arena in the 1.3 engine Lancia Fulvia Coupe and fellow Italians Allesio De Angelis/Sergio Sisti third in a Fiat Ritmo 60.

Now in fourth place and making up ground quickly is the 1959 wire-wheeled Jaguar XK 150 Coupe of Lithuanian driver Karolis Raisys and his Latvian co-driver Ilya Zakmans. Best IRDC/British crew is the Rover 2000 SC of Ranald White and Karsten Brown in 107th place overall. Road conditions continue to be a challenging combination of tarmac, ice and snow.

5th February, 2019

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