Eager to kickstart his 2021 WRC campaign, Hyundai’s Ott Tänak obliterated the competition in Finland to secure a solid win in round two.
Undoing their retirement from the Monte-Carlo season opener, Hyundai’s Ott Tänak & Martin Jarveoja reigned supreme in Lapland’s frozen forests as the duo sealed a dominant start-to-finish victory in the Arctic Rally Finland, the second round of the 2021 World Rally Championship.
With an unchallenged drive throughout the three-day event, Tänak crossed the finish line with a very comfortable lead of 17.5 seconds over Toyota rookie Kalle Rovanperä, the latter having fought tooth-and-nail with Tänak’s teammate Thierry Neuville for the second step on the podium, that’s also the best result of his FIA WRC career to-date. Neuville’s third-place finish, behind Rovanperä by mere 2.3 seconds, rounded off the top-three.
Overall, Hyundai had every reason to rejoice in Finland, with Craig Breen’s fourth-place finish placing yet another i20 Coupé in the top five. Elfyn Evans’ Toyota Yaris WRC rounded off the top-five, while his teammate and Monte-Carlo round winner Sébastien Ogier had to settle for a 20th-place finish. The Frenchman’s Finland outing took a definitive turn at the end of the penultimate day when he ended up burying his Yaris into a snowdrift.
Due to his round one DNF, Tänak is only placed fifth in the overall drivers’ classification, with 27 points. Meanwhile, local hero Kalle Rovanperä has etched his name into the history books as at just 20 years old, he became the youngest driver to lead the WRC in the championship’s 49-year history. While he sits atop the leaderboard with 39 points, Hyundai’s Neuville is hot on his tail, behind by only four points. Behind Neuville, both Toyota drivers Evans & Ogier are tied at 31 points each. In the manufacturers’ title fight, Toyota still leads the board with 88 points, ahead of Hyundai by a slim margin of 11 points.