OTT TÄNAK REFUSES TO TAKE ANYTHING FOR GRANTED IN HIS QUEST FOR A MAIDEN FIA WORLD RALLY CHAMPIONSHIP TITLE DESPITE OPENING A GAP TO HIS CLOSEST RIVALS AT THE WEEKEND.
Tänak scored a maximum 30 points at Neste Rally Finland to break clear of Sébastien Ogier and Thierry Neuville, with whom he has tussled all season. He heads Ogier by 22 points, with Neuville a further three adrift.
The momentum lies with the Estonian. He has won three of the last four rounds in his Toyota Yaris, and that could have been all four had damaged steering not wrecked his hopes just a handful of kilometres from the finish in Italy in June when leading.
The next two rounds in Germany and Turkey are events Tänak won last year but he knows only too well that neither Ogier nor Neuville can be discounted yet.
“This weekend we had a perfect event so maximum points are good but there are still five events to go and that’s a long way,” Tänak told wrc.com. “Nothing is healthy at the moment and I’m sure the other guys will be very competitive in the other events.
“We’ve seen this weekend that our opponents have upgraded their pace. I would say especially Hyundai was very strong. Normally they would be struggling here but the pace they did was impressive, so we need to keep pushing as well.
“Thierry and Seb, I know them well enough to know that they will push to the limit. The closer it gets to them, the more they start to push, so we need to keep working.”
A maximum 150 points are available as the season enters its final third with five rallies remaining.