Untouchable Tänak streaks to P-WRC win
Young Estonian Pirelli Star Driver Ott Tänak, navigated by experienced co-driver Kuldar Sikk (EST), stole the show this weekend in Neste Oil Rally Finland, the fifth round of the FIA 2010 Production car World Rally Championship. After an early battle with Finnish guest driver Juha Salo, also in a Mitsubishi Lancer, Tänak was in a class of his own and took hold of and defended the lead in the PWRC, scooping his first ever points in style.

The two-time Estonian Champion retired this season in both Turkey and Portugal after promising starts and was determined to make his mark this weekend. Consistently fast times and four stage wins across the Finnish gravel left the unshakeable twenty-two year-old nearly a minute and a half ahead of second-placed guest driver Jukka Ketomäki (FIN, Mitsubishi).

New Zealander and Pirelli Star Driver Hayden Paddon overcame a puncture on the final stage to claim the last spot on the podium, albeit a further minute and a half adrift of Ketomäki. The second-placed Finn’s pace was phenomenal as he racked up nine stage wins and topped the sprinter standings to overcome a series of minor problems with his car over the morning of Day One. Meanwhile, Paddon proved relentless, sitting in fourth until Championship contender Patrik Flodin’s engine woes on SS14 forced the Swede to retire from the rally.

Flodin’s disappointment was obvious as the absence from Finland of his main rival and reigning P-WRC Champion Armindo Araújo (PRT) gave him the perfect opportunity to top the series standings, and his pace over the first fourteen stages seemed to put triumph within his reach. However, with only eleven finishers from a P-WRC field of sixteen, Flodin wasn’t the only frontrunner to suffer over the weekend. Early leader Salo was in high hopes of a win on home territory and won five of the first six stages, only to make a mistake on SS7, leave the road and be forced to retire.

1st – OTT TÄNAK (EST) : “It’s great. I like the Finnish roads, because they are like the ones in Estonia and I’m really happy to have 25 points.”

2nd – JUKKA KETOMÄKI (FIN): “It’s a great result for me, but yesterday morning I lost a lot of time due to many problems and that was not good.”

3rd – HAYDEN PADDON (NZL) : “Wow! I’m relieved to hold onto third after getting a puncture 4km from the end of the last stage! I’ve been competing against very fast guys here, so it’s good to get some more points in the bag.”

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