Tanak frustrated after Rally Italia
By Jason Craig
Wednesday 7th June, 2023 - 10:43am
M-Sport Ford driver Ott Tanak says he is more determined than ever to find the extra speed that is going to be needed if he is to win events and remain in the FIA World Rally Championship title fight this season.
Tanak headed for home at the end of last weekend’s weather-affected Rally Italia Sardegna with only four points to his name courtesy completing the end-of-rally Power Stage in the second quickest time.
He re-joined the action on Sunday having had to retire his Puma Rally1 car from the Olbia-based event on the road section heading to stage 10 on Saturday after it developed an electrical fault.
The cause of the problem stemmed from a watersplash on the previous stage – an obstacle that forced Takamoto Katsuta to park up his GR Yaris Rally1, while also giving his Toyota Gazoo Racing team-mates Elfyn Evans and Sebastien Ogier a scare.
All told, Tanak slipped one position to third in the overall standings, which defending champion Kalle Rovanpera continues to lead. Thierry Neuville – who won the rally to reignite his title ambitions – was the biggest mover of the weekend, climbing three places to second.
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Ahead of Safari Rally Kenya in three weeks’ time, Tanak feels a rethink is needed, especially from his side of a car that continues to be subjected to increasing levels of testing and development.
Upgrades are also being applied to the car, part of which is being funded by Ford Motor Company’s official sporting arm, Ford Performance.
“There is a lack of performance from my side and we seem to be struggling to find the speed this year,” said Tanak. “It [the performance gap] is definitely more than half a per cent but the stage times are not what I should deliver.
“At the moment I am not even close to what I should deliver, so obviously we are lacking a bit. It is clear that I am struggling to go faster. We can point a lot of fingers but this will not help us go any faster.
“It is true to say it has been a hard weekend. It has not been great, the weather made it tricky and I think a lack of performance from me also,” continued the 2019 World Champion.
“Hopefully with time we will find that extra speed. It was not our weekend, but we are going home with four Championship points and we will continue to work hard to move closer to our competitors.”