M-Sport’s Tanak lines up Rally2 outing
By Jason Craig
Friday 29th September, 2023 - 1:31pm
World Rally Champion Ott Tanak will make a guest appearance in a Rally2 car in the final round of this season’s Estonian Rally Championship.
Following this weekend’s Rally Chile, the M-Sport Ford pilot’s focus will switch to next week’s Saaremaa Rally.
However, in a change from the norm, former Junior World title winner Robert Virves is going to take the place of the 35-year-old’s regular co-driver, Martin Jarveoja.
Despite this being the first time Tanak has taken the controls of an R5/Rally2 supermini in the best part of a decade, Virves’ has spent most of this season competing in the class and also tackled the loose surface event itself as recently as last year.
Top seed Tanak believes the competition represents a “proper challenge” and has vowed to “have some good fun in the car as well.”
He said: “I am happy to let you know that right after Rally Chile I will go to my home island to participate in the legendary Saaremaa Rally in the Ford Fiesta Rally2 prepared by RedGrey team
“And to make it even more interesting, the 2022 Junior World Rally champion Robert Virves will take a co-driver seat next to me,” added Tanak, 2019 World Rally Champion and a three-time winner of Saaremaa Rally, which is the sixth and final round of the Estonian Championship.
Now in its 56th year, the event’s deputy clerk of the course – who is also Tanak’s Public Relations manager – does not believe the result will be as clear cut as some might think.
“Of course, it will be unique to have Ott and Robert here together, as they are both from the same island where this rally is happening,” said Henri Rump.
“This will be a huge thing for the local rally community to have our two World Rally champions racing together in the same car.
“But it won’t be an easy job for Ott and Robert; there are some other Estonian talents in Rally2 machinery competing against them and every Estonian rally driver wants to holds the biggest trophy of Saaremaa Rally by the end of the event.”