The 2019 world champion heads to his house spherical off the again of a second retirement from six rounds at Safari Rally Kenya final month. Tanak suffered a damaged gear lever and a prop shaft failure, earlier than an influence steering concern finally ended his rally prematurely.
Regardless of a sequence of reliability points this 12 months, the Estonian sits third within the championship standings, helped by a drought-breaking victory in Sardinia final month and a second place end on tarmac in Croatia in April.
Tanak will likely be regarded among the many favourites for victory having received the occasion 4 instances beforehand, his final arriving in 2020 when the rally joined the WRC schedule for the primary time.
Nevertheless, the 34-year-old led final 12 months’s version early on just for a puncture to price him half a minute on Friday, earlier than retiring when a second puncture struck, leaving him with no spare wheel to proceed.
“Rally Estonia is at all times an important occasion. For the primary time this 12 months we will likely be going to smoother, sooner roads, so I’m anticipating it to be enjoyable, however we additionally want to verify we extract all of the efficiency and velocity we will from the automobile,” mentioned Tanak.
“Will probably be an enormous problem and we must be quick out of the field proper from the start.
“It’s additionally nice to have a rally at house as a result of we get to have the wonderful followers and people near us round us. However there is no such thing as a additional strain, we simply wish to rating as many factors as attainable.
“We’ll strive our greatest and do every thing we will to complete within the prime positions.”
Ott Tanak, Martin Jarveoja, Hyundai World Rally Staff Hyundai i20 N Rally1
Picture by: Dufour Fabien / Hyundai Motorsport
Tanak’s team-mate Oliver Solberg is one other driver feeling assured forward of Estonia, admitting that this occasion will supply him a sensible likelihood to combat for a podium. The Swede claimed the WRC3 class honours on the 2020 version.
“Rally Estonia is the occasion I’ve been wanting ahead to most all 12 months,” mentioned Solberg.
“It’s one I’ve executed many instances earlier than and I’ve been in a position to win there twice. Hopefully I can combat for the rostrum, that’s my private aim.
“It’s a very tough occasion with numerous jumps. It’s additionally very quick and it’s the first time I’ve competed there in these WRC automobiles, so it is going to be a unique problem. I’ve have pushed in Estonia a lot it feels nearly like my second nation, so I really feel very snug on the roads.”
Amid its battle to enhance reliability, Hyundai has proven flashes of velocity on gravel with the staff brazenly admitting that it has focussed the event of its automobile for gravel rallies.
Deputy staff director Julien Moncet known as for a response from his staff after a disappointing outing in Kenya, the place all three of its i20 Ns suffered issues.
Heading into Estonia, Moncet says his squad is refusing to surrender regardless of sitting 62 factors adrift of rivals Toyota.
“All season lengthy the Hyundai i20 N Rally1 has proven a number of velocity on the gravel, and we count on subsequent weekend to be no completely different,” mentioned Moncet.
“The aim as at all times is to battle for victory and rating as many factors for the championship as attainable. Though the hole to the highest of the standings is sort of giant, we’ll by no means surrender.”
Rally Estonia begins with a brilliant particular stage on Thursday night.