Former world champion Ott Tanak showcased his rally prowess in the Chile Rally on Saturday, extending his lead substantially by winning two of the three opening stages on the middle day of the event.
Estonia's Tanak, the 2019 world champion, expanded his overnight lead from a mere four seconds to an impressive advantage of nearly 50 seconds over Teemu Suninen, driving for Hyundai.
Meanwhile, Elfyn Evans, who has been keen to keep his slim title hopes alive, currently holds fourth place, trailing the leader by a margin of 1 minute and 16.8 seconds.
Notably, Evans faces stiff competition from his Toyota teammate Kalle Rovanpera, who follows him closely, lagging behind by just half a minute. Rovanpera currently maintains a 33-point lead over Evans in the championship race.
With only two rounds left in the season following the Chile Rally, Evans is determined to secure a favourable result to extend his battle for the coveted WRC crown against the defending champion.
The day started with Rovanpera claiming victory in the first stage. However, the Finnish driver faced the challenge of nursing his Toyota's soft tires, diminishing his hopes of clinching the season with two legs to spare.
The forthcoming rounds of the championship include the Central European Rally, a new addition to the calendar spanning Austria, the Czech Republic, and Germany, scheduled for late October. Japan will host the 13th and final leg of the season in November.