Rally Chile BioBio Tänak Wins His Second Of The Season
Rally Chile BioBio has come to an end. Ott Tänak took home a dominant win at the event. Winning by just over 40 seconds.
Day one of Rally Chile BioBio started with 6 special stages totalling 112.86 km. Ott Tänak picked up where he left off in Chile taking the first stage win of the weekend. However, his lead would be short-lived. As Elfyn Evans would take the lead on SS2. Evans maintained the lead until SS4 when Teemu Suninen took the rally lead. While also winning his first stage in a Rally1 car. Suninen only held the lead for one stage before Ott Tänak took it back. Tänak remained the event leader at the end of the first day. Taking a 4.2-second lead over Suninen into day two.
The second day of Rally Chile BioBio was the Ott Tänak show. With the Estonian taking all but two stage wins on the day. Kalle Rovanperä was the only other driver to win a stage on the day. Tänak ended the second day with a 58.3-second lead over Suninen. The win was Tänak’s to lose at this point, but Tänak didn’t want to celebrate too early. As he knows better than anyone that a lead, even of that size can disappear in an instant.
The third and final day of Rally Chile BioBio was the Thierry Neuville show. With Neuville winning three of the day’s four stages. However, none of that mattered in the end as Tänak held on to take the rally win. Tänak wasn’t pushing at all on the final day as expected. Neuville battled with Teemu Suninen for second place. That was until Suninen crashed out on SS15, handing Neuville second and Toyota the manufacturers championship. Kalle Rovanperä took home the Powerstage win.
Drivers’ Championship Standings
Kalle Rovanperä remains in the drivers’ championship lead as expected. Rovanperä now leads Elfyn Evans by 31 points heading into the Central European Rally later this month. Thierry Neuville also remains in his position, staying in third now 31 points behind Evans. Neuville’s championship hunt is officially over. Ott Tänak stayed in fourth despite taking the event win. However, the gap between him and Neuville has shrunk to just 9 points. It’s possible for Tänak to move into a top-three position by the season’s end. Sebastien Ogier stays in fifth, now 47 points behind Tänak. Esapekka Lappi still sits on the edge of a top-five position, just one point behind Ogier.
Ott Tänak has had a rough 2023 season. With the Estonian only having one win before Rally Chile BioBio. It doesn’t help matters that the Puma Rally1 has been extremely unreliable. Tänak has had strong performances, but every time he does it seems that the car gives out. It’s been an unfortunate year for the 2019 championship. As Tänak has proven that he is still one of the best drivers in the championship. Hopefully, this is a sign of things to come for Tänak but unfortunately, it seems to have come too late. As Tänak’s championship hopes have been over for a while. Hopefully, Tänak can start building himself up for next season, whether or not that’s with M-Sport is a different story.
Teemu Suninen may have retired on the penultimate stage of Rally Chile BioBio, but that doesn’t take away from his performance. There aren’t many drivers who can say they beat Kalle Rovanperä and Elfyn Evans on multiple stages during an event. Especially with just three events worth of experience in a car. Suninen was the second-best driver this weekend behind Tänak. It may have had something to do with road position on the opening day, or it could be a showing sign that Suninen can compete with the big guys.
Lappi and Loubet Roll Out
Esapekka Lappi was set to move into the top five of the drivers’ championship. However, that all came crashing down on the first stage of Rally Chile BioBio. As the Fin would go too tight into a corner and hit something that caused his car to roll. Lappi and his co-driver were okay after the crash that left his i20 with half of a rear end. Just two stages later Pierre-Louis Loubet would suffer the same fate as Lappi. Loubet looked like he was going to have his best event of the season. Unfortunately, he just couldn’t keep it up and rolled out of the event. Loubet also tore half of his rear end off in the crash.
Rally Chile BioBio Links
How Tires Changed Rally Chile BioBio
Day One Recap: WRC1
Day Two Recap: WRC1
Day Three Recap: WRC1
Suninen Crashes Out Of Rally Chile BioBio