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Tanak triumphs in Sweden to take championship lead

Lift-off for Tanak in Sweden
Lift-off for Tanak in Sweden TT News Agency/AFP

Torsby (Sweden) (AFP)

Estonia's Ott Tanak took the lead in the world rally championship for the first time in his career with victory in the Rally of Sweden on Sunday.

The Toyota driver went into the closing stage with a near one minute cushion after Friday's overnight leader Teemu Suninen crashed out after hitting a snow bank.

He avoided any similar misfortune on roads covered by snow and ice to take the win by 53.7sec.

"Incredible, I'm so happy at what we've finally done," said Tanak who was notching up his first win in Sweden and seventh overall.

Finland's Esapekka Lappi in a Citroen C3 edged second by three seconds from Thierry Neuville behind the wheel of a Hyundai.

Tanak, who arrived in Sweden in third in the drivers' race, won the final power stage to claim five bonus points to top the standings on 47 points ahead of Neuville (40) and Monte Carlo winner and champion Sebastien Ogier (31), who had a difficult weekend finishing over 25 minutes adrift.

The world rally championship moves on to Mexico next month for the third leg of the season.

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