Tanak hoping recent home win boosts Sweden bid
By Ian Parkes
Friday 10th February, 2023 - 4:50am
Ott Tanak is hoping a warm-up event in his home country of Estonia can help land him a podium in the second round of this year’s World Rally Championship.
Following the traditional Rallye Monte-Carlo curtain-raiser last month, the series switches to Sweden for three days of treacherous ice and snow conditions.
In between the two events, the 2019 champion recently took part in the Otepaa Winter Rally which serves as part of the Estonian Rally Championship, claiming a comfortable victory.
After moving from Hyundai over the winter, the outing helped with further acclimatisation to his MSport Ford Puma Rally1 in which he finished fifth overall in Monte Carlo before clinching second place in the power stage to leave him 12 points behind Sebastien Ogier.
Assessing the merits of his home outing, Tanak said: “It was good to do.
“Obviously we had only one pre-event test planned and you only drive on one road and you don’t get too many different conditions.
“But with a rally, okay, the weather was a bit tricky as well and we had maybe a bit too much snow and it was a bit challenging.
“But still, for sure, like this you could learn a bit more. The conditions were quite different (to Sweden), but still, it was good to do some stages.”
Tanak “confident on snow”
As to his boosting his confidence and his prospects of a top-three finish, Tanak added: “You would never want to take it (a podium) out as a chance. At the moment everything is possible.
“We don’t really know where we are or how competitive we can be. It’s still the first time driving the car on this surface, so let’s see where we are.
“We would still like to do a couple of stages to see how it is feeling and how the times are going, and we’ll see from there.
“Personally, I feel more confident on snow, so we need to see how we compare to the other guys.
“Let’s see what the conditions are like, but I think it’s too early to be talking about the result!”
Tanak can win – Wilson
MSport managing director Malcolm Wilson expressed greater confidence than his driver that a second win in Sweden was on the cards after previously triumphing in 2019.
“I don’t see any reason why we can’t challenge for the win in Sweden,” said Wilson.
“We know the Toyotas will be strong in Sweden, we’ve seen what they’re capable of – but we’ve got Ott Tänak!
“Okay, he’s still getting to know the car and getting comfortable, (but) the rally at (his) home in Estonia helped with that last week.
“Maybe the win in Sweden is asking a little bit much, but let’s see. I’d like to think we’re not going to be far away.”
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