Tanak takes early lead in first Chile rally

Concepción (Chile) (AFP) –


Estonian Ott Tanak took early command of the inaugural Rally of Chile when he led Sebastien Ogier by 6.1 seconds after three stages on Friday morning.

Thierry Neuville lay third, another half a second back, meaning the three men atop the drivers standings were already dominating the sixth leg of the World Rally Championship.

"There are things to improve, but overall it is a positive morning for us," Tanak told the World Rally Championship web site.

After Jari-Matti Latvala won the opening stage, the rally turned into a top-three shootout.

Estonian Tanak, who drives for Toyota, won the second stage, followed by Frenchman Ogier in a Citroen. Neuville, a Belgian who drives for Hyundai, third.

Neuville then won the third stage, edging Latvala with Tanak third.

Ogier who was fourth on the stage said Neuville had an advantage in equipment.

"He had new tyres here, so he was expected to do well."

Many drivers commented on the foggy conditions and forested course.

"There is low visibility in some places, but it is not so bad up to this point," said Ogier.

After winning the third stage, Neuville lamented his drive earlier.

"I don't know if my time here is enough to compensate what happened in the stage before, where I believe we could have done a better time," the Belgian said.

Latvala was fourth overall at 12.9 seconds with Briton Kris Meeke fifth already 27.8 seconds back.

"We can't see through the many trees and the lack of grip is remarkable," Meeke said.