Mikkelsen snatches Poland win after cruel Tanak puncture


Ott Tanak was cruelly denied a maiden World Rally Championship victory as a punctured front-right tyre on the penultimate stage of Rally Poland gifted Andreas Mikkelsen the win.

By the end of Saturday's stages, Tanak held an 18-second lead over Volkswagen's Mikkelsen and he safely negotiated the first two runs on Sunday to close on an unexpected victory.

However, Mikkelsen - who had been Tanak's main challenger all weekend - was handed a reprieve when Tanak sustained a puncture on the wet Baranowo stage costing the DMACK Ford driver 40 seconds.

Tanak did just enough to cling onto third in the final powerstage, with Hyundai's Hayden Paddon just 2.3 seconds adrift to complete the podium.

Patton's team-mate Thierry Neuville missed out on third by a mere 0.8secs, while Jari-Matti Latvala (Volkswagen) completed the top five.

After the completion of the rally, Mikkelsen revelled in victory but sympathised with a visibly disappointed Tanak.

"We pushed so hard all weekend. With this early starting position we knew we had to give it everything. And then with the weather today it was like a war out there," Mikkelsen said. 

"We were the lucky ones. It's a weekend I'll never forget. I told Ott before the stage I feel sorry for him."