Thierry Neuville clinched his third win of the season today at the WRC Rally Poland 2017. The Hyundai i20 WRC driver was involved in an epic battle with Ford Fiesta RS driver Ott Tanak who gave one of the most daring drives of the season. The rally itself became the most eventful round of the season, filled with muddy sections, torrential rains and powerful winds.
— Karanja Earl Simmons (@Earlsimxx) July 1, 2017
Neuville started in the lead on the final day but it was the speed of Tanak that proved unmatchable by any driver. The Ford driver thus claimed the lead after the first speed test only to crash in the next stage. He drove through an unexpected muddy section before hitting a bank with his rear and ultimately driving his front into a tree. Maimed and unable to compete fully, Tanak was forced to limp all the way to finish line.
After Tanak’s crash, Neuville cruised into the lead again and drove to the chequered flag in first place. This was his sixth consecutive podium finish.
“Ott drove a great rally. In such a fight nobody gives up. I wasn’t ready to give up and was prepared to win. I was sorry for him and congratulate him on the job he did before he crashed. He was amazing again and one guy who was hard to beat.” said Neuville.
As for Tanak, this was the third time in a row that he failed to finish Rally Poland, having suffered similar fate in 2015 and 2016.
Hayden Paddon made it 1-2 for Hyundai today, and although he never had the pace of his rivals, a flawless drive through the three days rewarded him with several stage wins as well as a second place finish. Sebastien Ogier finished third after hitting some troubles including a big slide this morning into a field. He is now just 11 points ahead of Neuville in the championship standings.
Dani Sordo finished fourth ahead of Stéphane Lefebvre while WRC debutant Teemu Suninen finished sixth in another M-Sport Ford Fiesta RS.Mads Østberg was seventh leading Elfyn Evans, Andreas Mikkelsen and Juho Hänninen to complete the top ten.
Rally Finland is up next on the calendar, July 27-30.