Rovanpera, Breen in tight Estonia fight as wheels come off for Tanak
Tartu (Estonia) (AFP) –
Toyota's Kalle Rovanpera held on to the Estonia Rally lead on Friday as four-time former winner and home hope Ott Tanak abandoned for the day after suffering a series of punctures which left him without spare tyres.
Finland's Rovanpera, 20, who lives in Estonia, ended the day with an 8.5sec advantage over Craig Breen in a Hyundai.
Both men are hunting their maiden world championship win.
Rovanpera, who led after Thursday night's short curtain-raising test, won three of the morning stages.
Breen, 11 years his senior, kept in touch.
"It's tight - the gap is virtually nothing," said Rovanpera.
"Craig has been doing really nice times the whole day, so tomorrow will be a big fight. There were many jumps and many of them you can really enjoy. Some you have to go quite big and it's a bit harsh in the car."
Tanak endured a day to forget, suffering three punctures on his Hyundai.
"I went wide in a corner and basically I went on the field and during that I knocked off two tyres," he told wrc.com.
"I had another two punctures and obviously we had no spares anymore and it was not possible to continue."
Thierry Neuville, in another Hyundai, is third overnight, 53 seconds behind Rovanpera with world champion Sebastien Ogier fourth in his Toyota, 59 seconds off the pace.
"I could not have hoped for better and, whatever is going on with Thierry, it does not matter much at the moment," said series leader Ogier.
The Frenchman has a 56-point lead over Belgium's Neuville and 34 over Toyota teammate Elfyn Evans who finished Friday in fifth place, 1min 15sec off the lead.
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