MOTORSPORT NEWS Rally

WRC stars to tackle Estonia Rally

OTT TÄNAK, CRAIG BREEN AND HAYDEN PADDON WILL PREPARE FOR THE UPCOMING NESTE RALLY FINLAND (26-29 JULY) BY TACKING THE NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP RALLY ESTONIA A FORTNIGHT EARLIER.

The WRC front-runners will contest the gravel event in their current World Rally Cars to complement their pre-event testing programmes on stages that closely resemble those in Finland.

For Toyota Gazoo Racing driver Tänak, the opportunity to compete in front of his home fans is an added bonus as he aims to recover from the disappointment of retiring at last month’s Rally Italia Sardegna.

The 2014 Rally Estonia winner said: “For the team, it’s a good way to gain the data and experiences in a real competition. Our biggest target for Rally Estonia is to get back the feeling of driving in the fast roads after mountain events, but we would definitely like to finish on the top of the podium in our home event and offer the best rally experience to our fans.”

Breen will tackle the 16-stage event in his Citroën C3 WRC as he looks to build on fifth-place in Finland last year. Paddon, meanwhile, is eager to fine-tune his preparations for the fourth start of his 2018 campaign after a fourth-place finish in Italy.

The Hyundai driver’s team manager, Alain Penasse, added that the Korean manufacturer is hoping to emulate other teams who enjoyed Finnish success after competing in eastern Europe.

“We saw in the past other teams competing in the rally as a pre-event test for Rally Finland and it seemed to work quite well,” Penasse explained. “This year we decided to follow this good example and join with one of our Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC cars.

“The roads in Estonia are fast and flowing and I’m sure this is the ideal event to prepare for Finland a couple of weeks later.”