Ott Tänak and Martin Järveoja won all eight special stages of the Otepää Winter Rally on Saturday.
The Estonian pair’s lead over Hyundai teammate Thierry Neuville grew to 33.4 seconds by the end of the rally.
Georg Gross – Raigo Mõlder who also brought a WRC car (Ford) to the rally came in third (+2:17.6)
“A difficult day. I believe there is a lot for us to learn from here,” Tänak said after the rally. “There was a lot of loose snow, unplowed roads and little traction. And because the organizers used many small roads, we had larger and smaller roads alternating etc. – meaning that the rhythm and available traction were changing all the time. It was an adventure.”
The Otepää Winter Rally also served as preparation for the WRC Arctic Rally Finland.
“We know we are going to have a hard time against the Toyotas there and I know who we are up against. The work is just beginning,” Tänak said.
“We have been testing and now had this rally. We have a lot of information, while we need to put it together in a package we can use. We have been exploring until and now it is time to make the right choice.”
Neuville: “We came here for some testing, trying out different setups. We were moving in a good direction all day and had a better feel for the car by its end. But the rally was difficult. The conditions were changing and some sections were very complicated.”
Egon Kaur – Silver Simm were the fastest in the R5 class (Volkswagen; +2:41.2) ahead of Georg Linnamäe – Volodymyr Korsia (Volkswagen; +3:05.01). Roland Poom – Darren Garrod (Citroen; +4:05.8) came in sixth overall.
“We tried to maintain our own rhythm. It is hard to find problematic areas when not trying to match the pace. We wanted to maintain the pace more or less and did,” Egon Kaur, who is also preparing for the Arctic Rally, said.
“I believe we managed to hit our goal in that sense. We got a feel for where we still might have slight problems. We were just shy of being able to give it 100 percent.”