The Estonian delivered a measured and faultless drive to come back via a tense head-to-head with Hyundai’s Craig Breen, that dominated nearly all of the weekend.
Competing in his second occasion driving the M-Sport Ford Puma following his change from Hyundai, Tanak claimed a 18.7s victory from Breen. Hyundai deployed staff orders forward of the ultimate stage by making Breen verify in late to place him behind his full-time team-mate Neuville, however a mistake from the latter within the closing stage wrecked these plans.
Tanak scored just one stage win from the 18 assessments throughout 4 days of competitors, however his constant pace proved pivotal in coming via a tense battle with Breen, to wrap up a primary win since Ypres Rally Belgium final August. M-Sport’s final WRC win arrived in Monte Carlo final yr due to Sebastien Loeb.
Tanak began the rally strongly, ending Thursday’s opening stage simply 1.6s behind Toyota’s Kalle Rovanpera. However the 2019 world champion stormed into the rally lead by the point crews returned to the service park on Friday morning.
Breen, returning to the WRC in his first occasion of a partial season, quickly emerged as Tanak’s nearest rival. It was the Irishman that shone on Friday afternoon as the brand new Hyundai signing wrestled the lead away from the Estonian, which he took into Saturday’s phases.
Breen’s bid for a memorable maiden WRC win strengthened, together with his benefit over Tanak rising to five.7s, earlier than the M-Sport driver fought again throughout Saturday afternoon.
Craig Breen excelled on his first WRC outing of 2023 however misplaced contact with Tanak on Saturday after this second
Photograph by: McKlein / Motorsport Images
A fortunate escape from a snowbank on Stage 12, and a tyre delamination on Stage 13, adopted by a lack of hybrid energy, hampered Breen and allowed Tanak, who was fortunate to outlive a puncture on Stage 15, to reclaim the lead.
Tanak then cooly polished off Sunday’s three phases to attain the win and web two powerstage bonus factors. Former M-Sport driver Breen was unable to reel in Tanak over the ultimate assessments and a 10-second penalty for checking in a minute late to the ultimate stage.
Neuville received 5 phases however was locked in a battle with Rovanpera throughout Saturday and Sunday for what was the ultimate podium spot. He made probably the most of his contemporary tyres on Sunday to tug clear earlier than staff orders had been deployed.
A mistake on the ultimate stage nearly proved expensive however he managed to achieve the end in third, 20.0s adrift.
Rovanpera discovered opening the roads powerful going as he misplaced his Thursday night time lead and dropped to as little as fifth, however was in a position to combat again on Saturday. The Finn hauled himself right into a combat for the ultimate podium spot with Neuville, after Hyundai’s Esapekka Lappi spun right into a snowbank on Saturday’s Stage 13.
Lappi had held third from Friday up till that time earlier than his rally unraveled when his entrance proper tyre delaminated, which contributed to his spin on the closing nook of the stage. Lappi was stranded within the snowbank for seven minutes which moved Rovanpera and Neuville into podium rivalry. Rovanpera was additionally fortunate to emerge from a wild high-speed spin in the identical stage.
Oliver Solberg donimated WRC2 and completed seventh general
Photograph by: McKlein / Motorsport Images
At one level Neuville and Rovanpera shared third spot on Saturday night earlier than Neuville pulled three.8s clear. Rovanpera briefly nibbled into the deficit on Sunday earlier than Neuville lastly claimed the rostrum.
Following the Hyundai’s staff orders, Rovanpera secured fourth and solely picked up three powerstage factors.
Toyota’s Elfyn Evans accomplished the rally in a distant fifth after struggling for confidence behind the wheel of his GR Yaris all through. The Welshman was additionally lucky to outlive run-ins with snowbanks on Saturday.
M-Sport’s Pierre-Louis Loubet, making his first Sweden begin in prime degree equipment, completed sixth after hybrid points and a quick stoppage on the ultimate stage, whereas Lappi recovered to say seventh and received the powerstage.
Toyota’s Takamoto Katsuta disappeared from the rally altogether. The Japanese was pressured to retire from Friday’s motion as a result of a leaking radiator sustained from a wild roll on Stage 5.
The roll occurred whereas Katsuta, making his first begin for the manufacturing unit staff, was sitting fifth after profitable Stage four. He then was pulled from the motion earlier than Sunday’s closing stage as a result of an engine problem.
House hero Oliver Solberg completed seventh general after dominating the WRC2 class to start out his championship marketing campaign with a 42.3s victory over Ole Christian Veiby.