(Reuters) – Estonian Ott Tanak took his third successive world rally championship win and moved into title contention with victory for Toyota in Turkey on Sunday.
Belgian Thierry Neuville, who retired from Saturday’s second leg with a broken suspension, stayed top of the standings for Hyundai but the points haul lifted Tanak ahead of reigning champion Sebastien Ogier and into second.
Ogier, who also retired his M-Sport Ford on Saturday after going off road and hitting a tree, was classified 10th on Sunday.
Toyota enjoyed a one-two finish in the rally on rough roads near Marmaris with Finland’s Jari-Matti Latvala runner-up and 22.3 seconds behind his team mate. New Zealand’s Hayden Paddon was third for Hyundai.
Neuville still picked up five points by winning the final Power Stage, with Ogier second and collecting four. Tanak was third.
Neuville has 177 points to Tanak’s 164 with Ogier on 154 and three rounds of the 13-race season remaining. Toyota took the lead in the manufacturers’ championship from Hyundai.
Tanak’s hat-trick was the first in the world rally championship since 2016, and Turkey was making its return to the calendar for the first time since 2010.
“I was absolutely flat-out in the Power Stage, and could not have done any more. We really needed those five points,” said Neuville. “We are fighting for the championship against some very hard guys to beat, so we had to give it everything.
“In all honesty, I feel we should have taken the win this weekend. We were clearly the fastest, especially on Friday when we were first on the road and leading at the end of the day.
“Were it not for a small issue on our car, we could have achieved so much more here.”
(Reporting by Alan Baldwin, editing by Toby Davis)