Tanak "pushing" Hyundai for improvements in Arctic Rally win

Ott Tanak has revealed he had to push his engineers to deliver a winning car for the Arctic Rally in Finland.

Tanak bounced back from his Monte Carlo Rally misdemeanours by taking a comprehensive victory around Rovaniemi.

Despite easing off slightly in the closing stages, the Hyundai i20 Coupe driver finished with a 17.5s cushion over Toyota's Kalle Rovanpera.

Team boss Andrea Adamo spoke publicly before the second round of the World Rally Championship about the need to win, with this leading to an under pressure Tanak to lean more heavily on his mechanics.

"This victory is very important and allows us to take away good points for the championship," said Tanak, who moves up to fifth in the drivers' standings.

"We came to Finland - the home country of one of our closest rivals - so the pressure was on for sure.

"We knew it would be complicated to take on the fight but, in the end, we did a very good weekend.

"The pre-event test was held in very different conditions, so we didn't really know what to expect.

"I was pushing the engineers quite a lot, but their hard work really paid off. We tried some new things in shakedown, and it all worked out nicely.

"New rallies like this one always makes things more open. When we came here, we really didn't know what to expect and we didn't know what was going to happen, who was going to be fastest, if the set-up works and how to manage the tyres," he added.

"If you come to such a new event, you never really know, you have to learn while you are driving and react to some things and probably at the beginning of the rally you can make the biggest difference otherwise during the event the other drivers start to learn and the gap gets smaller and smaller.

"For myself, I knew from the beginning I had to build some margin and then after that I was able to manage [the gap]."

Tanak has been unable to rediscover the kind of form that led to him being crowned the WRC champion with Toyota two back in 2019, but the Estonian is sure his second triumph in Hyundai colours can serve as a springboard in 2021

"You want to win every event but things have not been so smooth and generally so straightforward," he said. "But this year we have a longer season ahead, so we can get a much more consistent feeling."

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Series WRC
Event Arctic Rally
Author Jason Craig
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