Ott Tanak feels his safety-first mentality to the 2018 World Rally Championship season opener has provided an ideal base to start his maiden campaign with Toyota having finished runner-up at Rallye Monte-Carlo.

After rising up as former team-mate Sebastien Ogier’s closest challenger for victory, the Estonian kept the pressure on the defending WRC champion without ever taking the general classification lead from the French driver. Despite this, Tanak produced a star debut for Toyota Gazoo Racing with four stage victories on his way to second place having seen off team-mate Jari-Matti Latvala and Esapekka Lappi.

Tanak had been wary of making critical mistakes on his Toyota debut despite already feeling at home in the Yaris WRC machine and as a result was thrilled with his best-ever career WRC result at Rallye Monte-Carlo.

“It’s really nice to start the season like this. It looks like I have joined a very strong team,” Tanak said. “The car has been amazing and I’ve felt really comfortable in it since the start of the rally.

“It was an extremely tough rally with such difficult conditions, but we managed to get through without any serious problems. We were expecting easier conditions but it was still really icy. We were able to take it steady because we were in a strong position. I’m now really looking forward to the coming rallies.”

With Toyota securing a double rostrum thanks to Latvala’s third place, the Japanese manufacturer has tied with M-Sport Ford at the top of the WRC manufacturers’ championship after the opener.

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