LONDON (Reuters) – Toyota’s Ott Tanak won Wales Rally GB on Sunday to stretch his lead over Citroen’s Sebastien Ogier in the world championship to 28 points with two rounds remaining.
Ogier, who had been chasing his sixth win in seven years in Britain, finished third behind Hyundai’s Belgian Thierry Neuville.
A maximum 60 points are still to be won in Spain and Australia but Ogier’s hopes of taking a seventh title look increasingly remote.
Estonian Tanak, who can become the first non-French champion since Norwegian Petter Solberg in 2003, finished 10.9 seconds ahead of Neuville and also collected five bonus points from the day’s concluding power stage in North Wales.
The victory was his fifth in seven races.
Ogier was 23.8 seconds behind but runner-up in the power stage, banking four extra points. Team mate Esapekka Lappi was third and Neuville fifth for a sole bonus point.
Tanak now has 240 points to Ogier’s 212, with Neuville the only other driver in mathematical contention on 199.
Hyundai lead the manufacturers’ standings on 340 points to Toyota’s 332.
The day’s clifftop Great Orme stage had to be cancelled due to “rough sea conditions”, with organisers explaining that divers could not be deployed on a safety boat below the vertiginous drop.
(Reporting by Alan Baldwin, editing by Toby Davis)