Ott Tanak is looking to set the record straight at RallyRACC Catalunya this weekend to help M-Sport close the gap in the fight for the runners-up spot in the WRC manufacturers' championship.
The Estonian driver has only raced in Spain in the premier class once before in 2012 when he was forced to retire and relishing the unique rally hosted on gravel and tarmac he is hoping to make amends this year.
“I haven't driven this event competitively since 2012, but we did the recce last year and it was good to see that it looked as good as I remembered. It's always a really enjoyable event,” Tanak said. “The gravel stages are smooth and fast – which I enjoy – and I think everyone would agree that the Tarmac stages are some of the best on the calendar.
“Going from one surface to another can be a little strange at the beginning. It's something that is a little out of the ordinary for us as we're used to driving on one surface for the entire weekend. But we tend to get into a rhythm surprisingly quickly and by the time we're into the second asphalt stage we're all pretty much up to speed.”
Tanak is also hoping for pleasant weather - in contrast to Corsica earlier this month - to provide easier driving conditions as he looks to take full advantage of his starting position on the opening day. He is also looking to maximise his position to claim a strong points finish to help M-Sport close the deficit on Hyundai and Citroen.
“If the weather is good, and dust isn't an issue, we should have quite a good road position for the first day,” he said. “I really enjoy this car on gravel and we plan to push from the very beginning. It'll be the same on the Tarmac – pushing hard and having a good rhythm throughout.”
Heading into the penultimate round of the season Citroen holds second place in the manufacturer standings by a single point from Hyundai in third with M-Sport 13 points further back.