MOTORSPORT NEWS Rally

Tanak spurred on by Poland near miss

Estonia’s Ott Tänak will step up his efforts to take a maiden WRC win at this week’s Neste Rally Finland [28 – 31 July] after losing out at the eleventh hour on the previous round.The DMACK World Rally Team driver was long-time leader in Poland until his Ford Fiesta RS suffered a puncture in the penultimate stage which handed victory to Andreas Mikkelsen. Tänak was inconsolable at the finish and vowed that there would be payback.

Ott Tanak
Ott Tanak

And as he readies himself for Rally Finland, the Estonian told wrc.com he had taken his event preparations to another level this week.

“Poland showed we need to work even harder – we missed the win. To have better luck you need to be stronger – that’s what I believe. We have to work harder to be more consistent. At this level it’s a big thing to lead a rally and the way we managed to dominate in Poland was a good feeling, but I think it won’t be easy to repeat that here,” he said.

“The target will be to stay close to the top and try to keep in touch with the battle. Like we saw in Poland, you never know what might happen. For sure I will push to the maximum – to be able to fight if there is a chance.”

Finland will be the second smooth gravel rally for DMACK’s new range of tyres that was introduced at Vodafone Rally de Portugal. This week’s ultra fast stages have a similar character to those in Poland but Tänak warned against drawing too many comparisons.

“Finland is a much more demanding rally,” he explained. “Poland was quite flat and not so hard on the tyres or the car. It was really smooth and fast flowing but you could make a couple of mistakes and it would be okay. 

“In Finland you need to be more precise. I think the time gaps will be closer than in Poland and if you give away a second or two here it will be almost impossible to get back.”

After the pre event recce and a clean run through Thursday’s shakedown, Tänak said he was pumped-up ahead of the challenge. “The stages are all great. There are none I don’t like. For me they are all amazing. Everything looks good and the car is working well.”