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Rally Germany: Ott Tanak extends lead over Andreas Mikkelsen

Ott Tanak M-Sport Ford WRC Germany 2017

Ott Tanak extended his Rally Germany lead over Andreas Mikkelsen to 23 seconds during Saturday's opening loop.

M-Sport Ford driver Tanak started the morning with a 5.7s advantage over Mikkelsen heading into the short Arena Panzerplatte superspecial.

Tanak topped the opening stage of the day, but he really started to build a gap on the full version of Panzerplatte, as Mikkelsen struggled with the tricky conditions and ended the 26-mile stretch 15.3s behind.

The Estonian continued to capitalise on Mikkelsen's troubles through Freisen, and was once again quickest through the stage, but his Citroen rival ran into more difficulties.

Mikkelsen spun at a late junction and stalled, which increased Tanak's lead to 25.7s.

On the final stage of the opening loop, Mikkelsen did regain 2.7s and finished the Romerstrasse section quickest to head into the afternoon 23s off the lead.

Sebastien Ogier spent the morning edging closer to his former Volkswagen team-mate for second, after title rival Thierry Neuville retired following the opening stage of the day with irreparable damage to his left rear wheel.

Thierry Neuville damage WRC Germany 2017

A cautious Ogier made the most of Mikkelsen's early incidents to go into the afternoon loop just 6.3s adrift of second spot.

Toyota's Juho Hanninen was one of the surprises of the day as the Finn completed the fearsome Panzerplatte 2.4s faster than Ogier to take the stage win.

Hanninen is currently locked in a tight battle with Elfyn Evans for fourth.

He gained significant time on the DMACK Ford driver through the final three stages of the loop to head to service just 0.8s behind the Welshman, who completed Romserstrasse with visible cosmetic damage after clipping a hay bale.

Craig Breen and Jari-Matti Latvala are separated by 17s in sixth and seventh.

Both drivers finished the opening loop visibly upset, with Latvala particularly disappointed with his run through Freisen, which included an off-road excursion into a field.

Jan Kopecky continued to extend his lead in WRC2 ahead of Eric Camilli.

He holds a 12.5s lead following the opening loop, while WRC2 points leader Pontus Tidemand is currently on course to claim the championship in third.

Leading positions

PosDriverTeamCarGap
1Ott Tanak, M.JarveojaM-Sport World Rally TeamFord1h49m07.5s
2Andreas Mikkelsen, A.JagerCitroen Total Abu Dhabi WRTCitroen23.0s
3Sebastien Ogier, J.IngrassiaM-Sport World Rally TeamFord29.9s
4Elfyn Evans, D.BarrittM-Sport World Rally TeamFord1m16.3s
5Juho Hanninen, K.LindstromToyota Gazoo Racing WRCToyota1m17.1s
6Craig Breen, S.MartinCitroen Total Abu Dhabi WRTCitroen2m03.9s
7Jari-Matti Latvala, M.AnttilaToyota Gazoo Racing WRCToyota2m10.9s
8Hayden Paddon, S.MarshallHyundai MotorsportHyundai4m17.9s
9Jan Kopecky, P.DreslerSkoda MotorsportSkoda6m04.3s
10Eric Camilli, B.VeillasM-Sport World Rally TeamFord6m16.8s


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