How Tanak froze out the competition at the Arctic Rally
Ott Tanak made up for a disastrous Monte Carlo Rally by leading all the way on the snow-kissed stages of the Arctic Rally Finland and in the process hit back at an event Toyota had been expected to dominate
Finland's Arctic Rally, drafted in at the last minute to replace Rally Sweden as the second round of this year's World Rally Championship, allowed Hyundai star Ott Tanak to kick-start his 2021 season with an assured win after scoring no points on last month's opener in Monte Carlo.
With Sweden abandoned in the face of a dramatic increase in the number of coronavirus cases this winter, the WRC grabbed this opportunity to move north into the Arctic Circle, with the promise of snow. The pre-event form book tilted strongly towards Toyota being the dominant force. For one thing, the team is Finnish to its core. For another, the team's young star Kalle Rovanpera won the event in 2020. You could also add that the team's talent manager, former Intercontinental Rally Challenge winner Juho Hanninen, won the event in its traditional January slot on the domestic calendar at the wheel of a Yaris WRC. And let's not forget that Toyota's rivals at Hyundai and M-Sport were left in shell-shocked disarray after the opening round, where Yarises filled four of the top six places on the Monte.
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