3 August 2015
WRC Rally Finland: We could have been on podium - Tanak
Ott Tanak: Unfortunately, I made a mistake on Friday morning and with no midday service it turned out to be extremely costly!
M-Sport's Ott Tanak reckons he could have finished on the podium on Rally Finland, if it wasn't for his mistake on Friday morning.
Tanak came into the event on the crest of a wave after his third place finish in Poland last time out. However, in SS3 he clipped a rock and broke the front-left damper. With no mid-day service, he then had made do for the rest of the day's seven tests, slipping from fourth to tenth post-SS10, although he was able to fight back on Saturday and Sunday, recovering to finish fifth.
“It's obviously a little disappointing because I think we could have been on the podium this weekend. Unfortunately, I made a mistake on Friday morning and with no midday service it turned out to be extremely costly!” Tanak said at the finish.
“But we can still take a lot of positives away from the weekend. After losing as much time as we did, you're never really in the mood to push the limits and you never really find that sweet spot that brings the quick times. But even though we weren't on the limit, the times were still pretty good and that's really encouraging for the future,” added the Estonian.
“It's a fantastic rally, and looking at the performance as a whole, I know that we have the potential to be challenging for the very best results next year.”
Meanwhile, team-mate Elfyn Evans also had problems on the Friday, running wide in SS4 and breaking the rear suspension when he hit a rock. He made repairs - using his Snap-On spanner from the in-car toolkit to reinforce the broken suspension arm – and did complete the leg, but he lost considerable time, slipping from sixth to 20th. He eventually finished in P12.
“Hitting a rock is never a very clever thing to do, but I think we did well to get through all of Friday's stages,” Evans remarked. “I didn't know if it would be possible with six stages and broken rear suspension, but we persevered and were rewarded with some good experience from all of the stages.
“There's no other event on the calendar like Finland, so experience really does count for a lot and I think we can be happy with the progress we've made from this time last year. The pace was there or there abouts and I can see where there are areas for improvement. We've still got work to do, so if we can improve by half again then we'll be challenging right at the top next year.”
“When you consider what Ott and Elfyn could have achieved this weekend there is of course a little disappointment. But on the other hand it's fantastic to see both cars at the end of the rally,” M-Sport boss Malcolm Wilson summarised.
“On Friday morning I really didn't think it would be possible, but Elfyn's road-side repair was incredible and the whole team worked hard to ensure we salvaged good points that keep us in contention for second place in the manufacturers' championship.
“We've seen some great times from both drivers throughout the weekend which is really encouraging – especially when you consider that they weren't taking the same risks as the front runners.
“We'll turn our attention to Germany now where I think we can be strong. Elfyn proved that he could be competitive there last year, and even though he has not driven on asphalt since the end of 2012, Ott has had good pace in the past. Hopefully it will provide us with an opportunity to close the gap.”
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