Hyundai bags 1-2 finish in 2020 Rally Estonia
After winning the first round of the World Rally Championship this year, Hyundai has been playing second fiddle to Toyota in the next rallies. Hyundai was just about ready to counter Toyota after finishing second to them in the next two rounds, but the pandemic halted any plans for that.
When the WRC season resumed in Estonia, it seemed that Hyundai would finish second to Toyota again. Hyundai's Ott Tanak and Thierry Neuville went all out in the early stages of the rally. However, it was the Toyota Yaris of Kalle Rovanperä at the top of the leaderboards. It was by a slim margin, though, with the young Finn hanging on by just three seconds ahead of Tanak.
But one innocent mistake would cost Rovanperä and Toyota the win and give Hyundai a stunning result in Rally Estonia. Rovanperä received a one-minute penalty after removing a radiator blanking plate before the start of the stage. While it is allowed to do minor fixes during the rally, it illegal to do so at the staging area. Because of the penalty, Tanak was handed the lead of the rally and never gave it back.
Tanak drove his Hyundai i20 through the hilly dirt roads of Estonia flawlessly, maintaining his lead for several stages. But despite the best efforts of Toyota's Sebastien Ogier and Rovanperä, Tanak was untouchable. Not only that, but Neuville also had a superb drive to bring his i20 home in second place, outpacing both Toyotas. Because of their efforts, Tanak and Neuville gave Hyundai a 1-2 finish in this round. Winning Rally Estonia was special Tanak, too, since he is Estonian.
With this win, Hyundai is just five points behind Toyota in the constructor's championship. Hyundai has 172 points while Toyota is still on top with 177 points. As for the driver's championship, Ogier is still the leader with 79 points. His teammate, Elfyn Evans, is in second with 70 points. Tanak sits in third, and his win brings his tally to 66. With less than 15 points separating the top three, it will be a close fight for the 2020 World Rally Championship title for the drivers.