5 July 2015
WRC Rally Poland: "Proper go" puts Tanak on podium
Ott Tanak: I said that I was going to give this one a proper go, and we have. Now I cannot wait for Finland where I think we have a good chance of being just as competitive
M-Sport's Ott Tanak says he enjoyed every single minute of Rally Poland and at the finish he was rewarded with a podium.
The Estonian had vowed to give it a “proper go” after a transmission issue put him out in Sardinia last month while running in third and this weekend he was sensational, leading on Friday morning, before brake issues and the wrong tyre choice dropped him back to fourth.
Tanak, however, fought back on Saturday, claiming three more stage wins to haul in Jari-Matti Latvala and set up a thrilling final day battle for P3. Going into the last stage just 1.1s separated the two, and although Latvala piled on the pressure, Tanak held on and it was his rival that made the mistake, going off and hitting a tree.
It meant the 27-year-old took third with ease and to top off the weekend, he also claimed two bonus points in the Power Stage, posting the second best time, just 0.1s off World Champion Sebastien Ogier.
It was Tanak's second WRC podium – although he said this one means more as it was achieved as a result of pure pace and commitment.
“I cannot tell you how much this podium means to me, Raigo [Molder - my co-driver] and the whole team. We have all worked so hard to get to this point and it is an incredible feeling to know that hard work is finally starting to pay off,” Tanak said.
“I felt really good in the car all weekend and I have just enjoyed every single minute of it.
“Of course I have been on the podium before, but this is different. This was us – pure speed from us and the car and that is special. I said that I was going to give this one a proper go, and we have.
“Now I cannot wait for Finland where I think we have a good chance of being just as competitive.”
Meanwhile, Tanak thanked M-Sport boss Malcolm Wilson for having faith in him this year and giving him a second chance.
“For Malcolm to offer a drive to someone who has not been driving for a year was brave. He knew me from 2012 when I had problems, but he believed in me and I have big respect for him and am very thankful. I want more podiums now,” Tanak added.
“I feel so good after this rally and am pleased for my team. Basically I know how small our team is and how much we put into this project, developing this new car and it's paying good dividends now.
“I am sure that this is the first event where we have been really competitive. It was difficult in the beginning of the season. I had one year off and, this year, the WRC is getting better all the time. Portugal was okay, we retired from third in Sardinia and here we are on the podium. This means a lot to me.
“The same dark blue horses (the Volkswagens) are pretty fast. I just need to do the same job and keep improving.”
So did he feel under pressure going into the last stage with Latvala so close?
“We had some pressure and I was not sure before the stage if I could do it,” he admitted, “But I thought it's been a really good rally so far and we have put in a lot of effort and I thought give it a good push and whatever comes will happen.
“Finally it paid off.”
Molder, however, had faith: “I knew we could do it. I do my job, Ott does his job. From my point [of view], this rally is similar to Estonia and Latvia and good for me.
"I have never been so happy. It is an amazing feeing and I enjoyed this event. I feel really good to be honest. It's the best weekend ever.”
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