Ott Tanak earns top gong at WRC gala

Entertaining Estonian Ott Tanak was voted the driver-of-the-year as voted by World Rally Championship fans.nlucky not to have pulled off a maiden victory in 2016, Tanak took the award at the official prize-giving gala in Sydney following the season-ending Kennards Hire Rally Australia at Coffs Harbour.


Ott Tanak
Ott Tanak


Tanak was robbed of victory in Poland when a puncture sparked emotional scenes on the penultimate stage.

Four-times WRC champ Sebastien Ogier lifted Tanak on his shoulders following the heart-breaking moment as his fellow drivers gave him a stirring round of applause.

That incident also saw Tanak win the Michelin Magic Moment award at the dinner.

New Zealand Hyundai factory ace Hayden Paddon won the Certina Timing award after outgunning VW superstar Ogier in Rally Argentina’s Power Stage that saw him claim his maiden WRC victory.

Fellow Hyundai driver Thierry Neuville’s co-driver Nicolas Gilsoul was voted Co-Driver of the Year, helping the duo to claim runner-up spot in the championship behind Ogier.

 The WRC 6 Livery of the Year went to Italian Lorenzo Bertelli’s Fiesta RS which sported a striking mirror-finish.

Rally Australia winner Andreas Mikkelsen landed the DJI Aerial Award for his leap over the feted Fafe jump at Rally Portugal.

Volkswagen Motorsport director Sven Smeets accepted a special trophy on behalf of the team after completing a fourth consecutive clean sweep of the driver’s, co-driver’s and manufacturer’s titles.

Rally Australia was the final event for Volkswagen which has withdrawn from future WRC competition.

VW enjoyed one of the most stunning eras in WRC with the company claiming 12 titles (four drivers, four co-drivers and four manufacturers) in the last four years.

The full list of award winners:
WRC Driver of the Year: Ott Tanak
WRC Co-driver of the Year: Nicolas Gilsoul
DJI Aerial Award: Andreas Mikkelsen, Fafe jump, Portugal
WRC 6 Livery of the Year: Lorenzo Bertelli
Michelin Magic Moment: Ott Tanak
Certina Timing Award: Hayden Paddon
Special Award: Volkswagen Motorsport
Lexar Photograph of the Year: Gergely Makai, Rally Racing, Hungary
Best News Story of the Year: Jerome Bourret, L’Equipe, France