Trailing Tänak's Rally of Turkey misery deepens

Marmaris (Turkey) (AFP) –

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A technical problem has forced world rally championship leader Ott Tänak of Toyota to withdraw from Saturday's leg of the Rally of Turkey.

Tanak tweeted the news himself describing his problem only as a technical problem with his vehicle, while Toyota were desperate to get him back in contention Sunday.

"Ott is stopped for today due to technical reasons. We will plan for the car to return under restart rules tomorrow," Toyota said.

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

Tanak was already trailing in 8th overnight after suffering a puncture on Friday.

Finn Esapekka Lappi was leading on Saturday after building a 17.7-second cushion over Citroen team-mate Sebastien Ogier over the past few specials.

The in-form Estonian Tanak had reeled off wins in four of the last five rallies and with three rallies remaining, the 31-year-old is in the drivers' seat to become the first Estonian world champion.