Martin Kangur has gone fastest on auto24 Rally Estonia’s DELFI Qualifying Stage in his Ford Fiesta Super 2000.
Kangur, who is one of a number of promising young drivers contesting their home round of the FIA European Rally Championship this week, will get the right to select his starting position first at the ceremony in Tartu from 18:00hrs today.
“It was very good and I am happy – now I have to think about where I start because I don’t know yet,” said Kangur, who took 1m30.0s to complete the 2.95-kilometre test.
Pre-event favourite Ott Tänak, in a Ford Fiesta R5, was second fastest, 0.3s down on Kangur with Sepp Wiegand third fastest for ŠKODA Auto Deutschland, a further 0.3s adrift.
Tänak’s M-M Motorsport team-mate Timmu Kõrge was fourth fastest in a time of 1m30.9s with ERC title leader Esapekka Lappi fifth fastest after clocking a time of 1m31.9s. “It was fine,” said ŠKODA driver Lappi. “Maybe once I released the throttle but generally it was okay and I didn’t do any mistake. Stage one, two and 14 are more fast than Finland but stage five is perfect, really nice.”
Sébastien Chardonnet was sixth with Kaspar Koitla seventh and Raul Jeets eighth. Koitla reported hitting a large stone on the final corner but he avoided damaging his Mitsubishi Lancer in the process.
Alexey Lukyanuk was ninth quickest followed by Siim Plangi, who is making his debut in a Peugeot 208T16. “I made a stop in a couple of places and lost some time. We have to push in the rally, not in qualifying and probably this is not the best time.”
Karl Kruuda was 11th in another Peugeot with Kristian Sohlberg 12th, Robert Consani 13th, Marco Tempestini 14th and Jaromír Tarabus 15th on a rare outing on gravel.
After SS1: Tänak half-spins and wins auto24 Rally Estonia opener
Ott Tänak survived a half-spin to win the opening stage of auto24 Rally Estonia, round seven of the FIA European Rally Championship.
Ranked as Estonia’s best rally driver, Tänak was 3.0s faster than Qualifying Stage winner Martin Kangur through the 14.93-kilometre Addinol run.
“We had a half spin coming onto the big road after five or six kilometres but otherwise it was quite good,” said Tänak, who is driving a Ford Fiesta R5 for Markko Märtin’s M-M Motorsport team. “I was feeling a lack of power but they are so fast roads.”
Siim Plangi lost vital time with right-rear puncture on his Peugeot 208T16, while a heavy landing left Kaspar Koitla’s Mitsubishi Lancer with a damaged radiator. Raul Jeets also reported an off-road moment.
ERC title leader Esapekka Lappi was eighth fastest in his ŠKODA Fabia Super 2000. He said: “My driving was okay, no risks, no moments but the other guys are cutting quite much and I was not expecting that. I cannot put the wheel inside the corner because I don’t know if something is there. We cannot go much faster than this without taking risks.”
After SS2: Drama as Kangur crashes out of Estonia ERC qualifier
Martin Kangur has crashed out of auto24 Rally Estonia, round seven of FIA European Rally Championship.
Event leader Ott Tänak reported that his fellow Estonian went off the road on a sixth-gear corner close to the start of the 24.42 kilometres of Sky Plus. Kangur, who was fastest on Thursday’s DELFI Qualifying Stage, was in second overall at the time of his accident.
“I saw the crash of Kangur at the beginning of the stage and it was a big crash on a sixth-gear corner but he was okay and spectating out of the car,” said Tänak, who was once again fastest through the stage in his Ford Fiesta R5 and leads his leads M-M Motorsport team-mate Timmu Kõrge by 15.7s. “I made one small mistake in that stage. It was a very fast stage."
Sébastien Chardonnet lost time when he overshot a junction after 15 kilometres and had to reverse his Citroën DS3 R5 before he was able to continue. Kristian Sohlberg also reported a wild moment when he charged through a metal gate after going off the road, while Alexey Lukyanyk suffered a high-speed spin.
Crews are now heading to Otepää for a 30-minute service halt. SS3, the 14.93-kilometre USS, which is a repeat of SS1, Kambja, goes live at 13:36hrs local time.
Ott Tänak has made it a hat-trick of stage wins his home round of the FIA European Rally Championship, auto24 Rally Estonia.
He was 6.6s faster than M-M Motorsport team-mate Timmu Kõrge through the 14.93-kilometre USS stage and now leads auto24 Rally Estonia by 22.3s.
“It's a hard rally,” said Tänak. “But all the stages are so enjoyable, so fun to drive, clean stages and I am happy. It's just good fun, I enjoy. They are so fast stages."
Alexey Lukyanuk continues to impress in his ERC Production Car Cup Mitsubishi Lancer. He currently has the third fastest time. “Thee were no mistakes, clean run and the road is getting much cleaner, it's much, much faster,” said the Russian. “We made a few really crazy jumps so I'm really excited. I'm going flat-out all the way."
ERC title leader Esapekka Lappi is continuing to struggle for pace on the high-speed stages in his normally-aspirated ŠKODA Fabia Super 2000. "Maybe we lost some seconds on the straights. I came without any mistakes but I cannot go faster. This is quite maximum without big risks, this is it. They have to drive, we have to survive."
Alexey Lukyanuk has snatched third place on auto24 Rally Estonia after he demoted Rainer Aus on round seven of the FIA European Rally Championship by reaching a top speed of 213kph.
Having trailed his ERC Production Car Cup rival by 0.8s starting the 24.42-kilometre Statoil test, Lukyanuk is now in front by 0.4s heading to service in Otepää.
“We're pushing really hard now,” said Russian ace Lukyanuk. “It was a brilliant stage for us with only one small mistake at a junction on the braking point. There were some nice jumps in there, really exciting. There are a lot of spectators. It's really nice to drive here. Our top speed was 213kph but maybe that was when the car was in the air."
Aus added: “This was not so good but every stage when it is the second run it is not so good because the R5 cars are faster. But we are still fighting with the Group N cars.”
Ott Tänak was fastest outright for a fourth stage running and now leads M-M Motorsport team-mate and fellow Ford Fiesta R5 driver Timmu Kõrge by 29.9s. ERC title leader Esapekka Lappi is fifth with ŠKODA Motorsport team-mate Sepp Wiegand in sixth, 12.1s adrift.
Stage five, the first run through the 9.39-kilometre Citroën (Arula) stage goes live at 15:59hrs local time.
Ott Tänak continues to lead auto24 Rally Estonia but his run of wins on the FIA European Rally Championship round is over after Alexey Lukyanuk outpaced him on the 9.39-kilometre Citroën-backed Arula stage.
Lukyanuk is making the most of his Mitsubishi Lancer’s high top-end speed and was able to outgun Tänak by 0.6s for his first fastest stage time.
“There were a lot of jumps and jumps in the corners so we enjoy a lot,” said the Russian, who is now 1.7s adrift of second-placed Timmu Kõrge. “Some places I was close to the edge of the road so we change the notes for the next time so I am more safe.”
Tänak, whose overall advantage stands at 31.8s, said: “There was one place where I was allowed to cut a bit. Otherwise it was a clean run, no mistakes. As we have a big gap we don't have to push. I'm finding a safe rhythm."
After SS6: Tänak returns to winning ways in Estonia despite high-speed slide
Ott Tänak has added to his tally of stage wins on auto24 Rally Estonia despite running wide on a fast corner in his Ford Fiesta R5.
Tänak has now set the pace on five stages of the FIA European Rally Championship round and leads M-M Motorsport team-mate Timmu Kõrge by 36.1s heading back to service in Otepää.
"I made a silly mistake on a long corner that was tightening,” explained the Estonian ace. “It wasn't on my notes and I went wide so I had to change down a gear in a fast place about five kilometres from the end. It was a big drift but it was a wide road and there was a lot of space."
The second run of Arula, sponsored by Ramirent, goes live at 18:02hrs local time.
After SS7: Kõrge responds to Lukyanuk threat in thrilling battle for second
Timmu Kõrge has responded to Alexey Lukyanuk’s threat in the thrilling battle for second place on auto24 Rally Estonia, round seven of the FIA European Rally Championship.
Driving a Ford Fiesta R5, Kõrge started the Ramirent-sponsored Arula stage 1.5s in front of Lukyanuk but is now 2.2s ahead of his Mitsubishi Lancer-driving rival following the 9.39-kilometre test.
“Now it felt quite nice, I am happy with this stage,” said Kõrge. Lukyanuk added: “I think we took it a bit easier, because the road becomes a bit hard in places and we touch the bottom a bit. We should stay calm and not over push.”
Out front, Ott Tänak has extended his advantage to 39.3s after he bagged his sixth stage best of the event.
There is now one gravel test remaining on leg one, the 12.43-kilometre Sportland stage. The action concludes with the sealed-surface auto24-Tartu City blast from 20:09hrs local time.
After SS8: Despair for Consani as Tänak heads to Tartu in control
Ott Tänak leads round seven of the FIA European Rally Championship by 42.2s heading to Estonia’s second largest city, Tartu, where leg one of auto24 Rally Estonia will conclude tonight with a spectacular street stage.
Tänak, in a Ford Fiesta R5, has been fastest on all but one stage of the high-speed gravel event and will be looking to transfer that dominance to the Tartu streets, where a challenging 1.33-kilometre course has been constructed and an estimated 30,000 fans are gathering.
In the battle for second place, Alexey Lukyanuk has responded to Timmu Kõrge’s rapid performance on stage seven by narrowing his advantage to 1.3s. Rainer Aus is fourth with ERC title leader Esapekka Lappi fifth and factory ŠKODA team-mate Sepp Wiegand sixth. Elswhere, Siim Plangi has demoted Roland Murakas for eighth place in his Peugeot 208T16.
However, the 12.42 kilometre-Sportland stage proved disastrous for Robert Consani when he retired his Peugeot 207 Super 2000 from 14th position amid reports that the French ace had rolled.
The auto24-Tartu City stage goes live at 20:09hrs local time and will be broadcast live on Estonian channel TV6.
After SS9: ERC auto24 Rally Estonia drama on the streets of Tartu
Ott Tänak has set the pace on the streets of Tartu, Estonia’s second largest city, to bring leg one of auto24 Rally Estonia to a thrilling close.
The local hero took 1m06.11s to complete the sealed-surface test in his Ford Fiesta R5 but reported a possible problem at the completion of the test, which attracted an estimated 30,000 fans and was shown live on Estonian station TV6. “The day in total was really good but I’ve now got a fuel pressure alarm beginning on the stage so I would like to go to see what’s happening,” he said.
There was drama too for fellow FIA European Rally Championship newcomer Sébastien Chardonnet when the Frenchman was forced to change a punctured tyre just as he was preparing to start the 1.33-kilometre auto24-Tartu City test.
“We had a problem,” said the Frenchman. “We stopped 1.5 kilometres before the start to make the tyres warm and between this place and the start we felt something strange. We stopped 300 metres before the stage start and saw it was a slow puncture on the left tyre. It takes time to change because we had trouble with the hydraulic jack. We lost four minutes.”
Sepp Wiegand was second fastest through the stage in his ŠKODA Fabia Super 2000, 1.1s behind Tänak. Teemu Kõrge was third fastest.
ERC aut24 Rally Estonia day one report: Home hero Tänak heads ERC spectacular
Ott Tänak has delivered a virtuoso performance on day one of auto24 Rally Estonia to lead his country’s inaugural round of the FIA European Rally Championship by an impressive margin of 44.2 seconds alongside co-driver Raigo Mölder.
Driving a Ford Fiesta R5 for Estonian legend Markko Märtin’s team, Tänak set a lightning pace on Friday’s spectacular high-speed gravel stages, going fastest seven times before rounding out his charge with the quickest run through the sealed-surface test in Estonia’s second largest city, Tartu, which attracted an estimated 30,000 fans.
Despite his dominance in the stunning sun-baked Estonian countryside, there were two moments of concern for the 26-year-old talent. The first came on stage six when he got wide on a high-speed right-hander and briefly slipped off the road as he battled to regain control. Then, prior to starting the Tartu City test, the fuel pressure warning light came on. He now faces an anxious wait to see if the car will be in full working order when he returns to overnight parc fermé ahead of the 46-kilometre journey back to service in Otepää on Saturday morning.
“If we can make it back to service tomorrow then it’s okay,” said Tänak, who has been cheered on by thousands of spectators throughout the day. “I got the alarm before the stage but the engine was running okay. But it’s been a good day with no real dramas and I’m really happy because I didn’t expect to have such a big gap. It’s nice to drive here and tomorrow should be another good day for us.”
After SS10: Rain no worry for ERC stars in Estonia
Ott Tänak has made it nine stage wins on auto24 Rally Estonia, despite heavy rain making the final two kilometres of the Red Bull Rimmi test extremely slippery.
Although the 13.09-kilometre test began in warm and dry conditions, an unexpected shower coated the road in water. “The rain was a really big surprise because we were told there would be no rain,” said Tänak, who now leads the FIA European Rally Championship counter by 46.5s. “But we are through, no moments, nothing. The first five kilometres were completely dry but then it was full rain. We will just drive and enjoy and we will see how it goes."
The rain was particularly frustrating for Karl Kruuda, who was hoping to show improved speed at the wheel of his Peugeot 208T16 after his mechanics replaced a damaged wire to the camshaft in service this morning.
"It was crazy, crazy,” said Kruuda, who is now just 1.7s ahead of Siim Plangi in the battle for seventh. “It started raining one minute too early, there was rain everywhere. I put the wipers to the maximum but it was so slippery. I think we found the problem with the engine but the rain ruined the end of the stage and I lost so much time over there. One wire was broken in the camshaft but the team change it in service so hopefully it will be okay."
Meanwhile, in the battle for second place, Timmu Kõrge is now 6.7s ahead of Alexey Lukyanuk.
Alexey Lukyanuk has stormed to his second stage win of auto24 Rally Estonia but event leader Ott Tänak could be trouble.
Tänak completed the 28.77-kilometre Saku Vaabina stage 4.2s slower than Lukyanuk but told ERC Rally Radio’s Julian Porter at the stop line that all was not well with his M-M Motorsport Ford Fiesta R5.
“We don't have any power,” said Tänak, who leads the FIA European Rally Championship round by 48.3s. “It's not the turbo. I don't know but there's no power."
Siim Plangi also lost out in the stage with a suspected transmission problem on his Peugeot 208T16. The Estonian was 1m48.0s down on Lukyanuk. “We have a big problem with the car and we hope we can get to the service. There is something wrong with the transmission."
Meanwhile, Lukyanuk’s stage best means he is now 0.7s behind Timmu Kõrge in the battle for second place. “There was a lot of straights but there are corners all the way and it takes a lot of pressure to push hard,” said the Russian. “You feel in some places you should brake but you don't and it works."
Elsewhere, Karl Kruuda has demoted Sepp Wiegand for sixth despite completing the stage with a rear tyre off the rim. Wiegand said he didn’t have the “feeling or the rhythm” in his ŠKODA Fabia Super 2000.
Ott Tänak is back on form on auto24 Rally Estonia after work in service to repair a faulty pop-off valve proved successful and enabled him to set another fastest stage time and extend his lead of the FIA European Rally Championship counter.
Tänak beat M-M Motorsport team-mate Timmu Kõrge by one-second through the 13.09-kilometre Lihakarn Rimmi stage and now leads the high-speed gravel event by almost 50 seconds with three stages remaining. “For us all was good with no dramas and the car is running oaky again,” he said. “It was a bit soft so we see for the next stage.”
Kõrge, meanwhile, has extended his advantage over third-placed Alexey Lukyanuk to 3.2s.
While it was a trouble-free stage for Tänak, several drivers completed the stage with damaged front-left tyres caused by striking a tree stump lying in a ‘cut’ two kilometres from the stage finish. Jaromír Tarabus, Sepp Wiegand and Siim Plangi all lost time with deflations.
After SS13: Lukyanuk closes up to second place in Estonia
Alexey Lukyanuk has slashed the gap to Timmu Kõrge to one tenth of a second with two stages of auto24 Rally Estonia left to run.
The thrilling battle for position has raged for much of the FIA European Rally Championship counter in front of thousands of fans. Kõrge appeared to be in control after stage 12 but a possible mechanical fault on his Ford Fiesta R5 has enabled his flying Russian rival to close up.
“Something is wrong with the car, there is no rear grip and no speed, I don’t know what’s wrong,” said Kõrge. “Let’s see what’s the problem in service.”
Asked to explain his pace through the 28.77-kilometre Carglass Vaabina stage, Lukyanuk, who was 1.1s slower than leader Ott Tänak, said: “It’s so easy, you just push the right pedal and turn right and left depending on what he is talking about. It’s only one cruise control – the throttle to the floor. We are trying to do it fast and safe by not making too much risk. I am pleased with my performance.”
Out front, Tänak’s advantage stands at 53.5s heading to the final service halt in Otepää. “The car is really good but it looks like more cars have been on the road. The road is quite cut up and we took it more easy. I am happy and we don’t need to drive on the limit but we still need to enjoy.”
Elsewhere, a bee stung Karl Kruuda’s co-driver Martin Järveoja during the stage. “The corners became a bit sketchy and we lost some of the rhythm,” said Kruuda, who was eighth quickest in his Peugeot 208T16.
After SS14: Charging Lukyanuk snatches runner-up spot from Kõrge
Alexey Lukyanuk has snatched second place from Timmu Kõrge on auto24 Rally Estonia. With one stage of the FIA European Rally Championship counter left to run, Russian Lukyanuk has an advantage of 4.8s over his Estonian rival.
However, Lukyanuk thought he’d lost time when he missed his braking point at a junction in his Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution X, although his concerns proved unfounded when he set the fastest time through the 12.27-kilometre TV6 Raiga stage, 1.2s faster than overall leader Ott Tänak.
“Once I missed the braking point a fraction to the right and I thought we were going out,” said Lukyanuk. “It was a really amazing stage and we took it flat out. It was a really good time.”
Kõrge, in a Ford Fiesta R5, said: “Can you please put some chicanes on the stages [to slow Lukyanuk]. What can I say? Maybe we pushed a little too hard. There’s still one more stage so we’ll see. We want second place. It will definitely be maximum attack.”
Sébastien Chardonnet ran out of order in the stage following a brake problem prior to the run.
Ott Tänak has made it six winners from seven rounds of this season’s FIA European Rally Championship with an emphatic victory on auto24 Rally Estonia – five years after his legendary team boss Markko Märtin won the gravel event.
Tänak led from the start in his M-M Motorsport Ford Fiesta R5 but had to overcome a few minor technical issues to triumph ahead of Alexey Lukyanuk, who beat Tänak’s team-mate Timmu Kõrge to second place following a thrilling battle between the pair. Lukyanuk, who was fastest through the event-closing Grossi Toidukaubad also secured ERC Production Car Cup honours in his Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution X.
"We managed to do a good pace and it's perfect preparation for Finland where we expect to have some more big fights," said Tänak.
ERC auto24 Rally Estonia day two report: Hotshot Tänak triumphs on home ERC thriller
Ott Tänak has made it six winners from seven rounds of this season’s FIA European Rally Championship with an emphatic victory on auto24 Rally Estonia today – five years after his legendary team boss Markko Märtin won the high-speed gravel event.
With his rapid progress followed every step of the way by thousands of enthusiastic fans, Tänak led from the start in his M-M Motorsport Ford Fiesta R5, which he shared with co-driver and fellow Estonian Raigo Mölder. The 26-year-old Tänak was fastest on 10 of the 14 gravel stages and was also quickest on the auto24-Tartu City street stage in front of 30,000 spectators.
But it wasn’t entirely straightforward for Tänak who had to overcome a few minor technical issues, including a fault pop-off valve, to triumph in the stunning Estonian countryside ahead of rapid Russian ERC Production Car Cup winner Alexey Lukyanuk and Timmu Kõrge, who made it two Estonian M-M drivers on the podium. Lukyanuk’s heroic performance earned him the prestigious Colin McRae ERC Flat Out Trophy.