Lappi builds lead as Tanak struggles in Turkey

Marmaris (Turkey) (AFP) –


Finn Esapekka Lappi increased his lead in the Turkish Rally on Friday afternoon, building a 17.7-second cushion over Citroen team-mate Sebastien Ogier after the day's final stage.

Hyundai's Belgian Thierry Neuville was third, 0.7sec further back. Ott Tanak, the overall leader, was eighth, 1min 37.4sec behind Lappi.

"That's cool," Lappi said at the end of the day's sixth and final stage. "A very good day with no dramas so far -- the car has been strong.

"Seventeen seconds is a lot in Finland, but on this rally even one minute is not a lot."

Lappi won the second stage of the day, the third of the race, and was consistent throughout Friday, finishing second twice and fifth three times.

"I am happy to be here, it was very rough and we didn't have too much trouble at least," said Frenchman Ogier, the defending world champion.

The rocky and twisty gravel tracks, temperatures above 30 degrees and the slow average speed, which create cooling problems, making the Turkish round of the championship a test of endurance rather than velocity.

Tanak was one victim, suffering a puncture on the sixth stage.

"It was crazy," said the Estonian. "It is a long way to go but still not the afternoon we were looking for."


1. Esapekka Lappi-Janne Ferm (FIN/Citroen C3) 1hr 59min 53.7sec, 2. Sebastien Ogier-Julien Ingrassia (FRA/Citroen C3) at 17.7sec, 3. Thierry Neuville-Nicolas Gilsoul (BEL/Hyundai i20) 18.4, 4. Teemu Suninen-Jarmo Lehtinen (FIN/Ford Fiesta) 44.4, 5. Andreas Mikkelsen-Anders Jaeger (NOR/Hyundai i20) 1min 4.1sec, 6. Dani Sordo-Carlos Del Barrio (ESP/Hyundai i20) 1:25.2, 7. Kris Meeke-Sebastian Marshall (GBR/Toyota Yaris) 1:32.1, 8.Ott Tanak-Martin Jarveoja (EST/Toyota Yaris) 1:37.4, 9. Jari-Matti Latvala-Mikka Anttila (FIN/Toyota Yaris) 1:42.5, 10. Pontus Tidemand-Ola Floene (SWE-NOR/Ford Fiesta) 3:45.4