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WRC Rally Estonia

Tanak: M-Sport “putting everything into” WRC title fight

Ott Tanak says there has been a “big effort” to refine his M-Sport Ford package ahead of his home World Rally Championship round in Estonia this weekend.

Ott Tänak, M-Sport Ford World Rally Team

After leaving the Hyundai fold and returning to M-Sport, Tanak heads into Rally Estonia sitting tied for third in the championship standings, 42 points adrift of Toyota’s defending champion Kalle Rovanpera.

The 2019 world champion has shown flashes of pace since winning February's Rally Sweden but has ultimately been unable to score a podium since finishing second to Toyota’s Elfyn Evans in Croatia back in April.

Heading into the first fast gravel round of the season, M-Sport has opted for an “intense” build up to the event beginning with a pre-event test, followed by Tanak completing the Louna-Eesti gravel rally in Estonia. The Ford was victorious in the rally as Tanak won all nine stages to beat Hyundai WRC rival Teemu Suninen by 38s.

Tanak says head the team are “putting everything in" to close the gap to his rivals as the championship enters the second half of the campaign.

“We've had some quite intense preparations; we did a pre-event test and then a small event, so it's been a big effort to make it as good as possible for Estonia,” said Tanak.

“Obviously, the next two events are purely about performance, so we're putting everything into it and we'll find out how close we get to the others.

“Now we are going into the second half of the season we're definitely not letting the championship go, so we feel like we need to increase our game and put everything in.

“It's going to be a short turnaround to Finland, so if something isn't quite working in Estonia the week in between will be flat out, but hopefully in Estonia we will be on a good level already.”

Ott Tänak, M-Sport Ford World Rally Team

Ott Tänak, M-Sport Ford World Rally Team

Photo by: McKlein / Motorsport Images

M-Sport team principal Richard Millener added: “Compared to the last event in Kenya, Estonia is a completely different challenge.

“It’s one of the fastest events in the season, and this year one of the most important for us – the home event of Ott.

“We know we will have huge Estonian support over the course of the weekend. We have put a lot of effort into preparing as best as we can for the rally with the pre-event test and Louna-Eesti Ralli.

“It would be fantastic to see Ott do well at home, and that is of course the goal for the rally.”

Tanak was back behind the wheel of the Ford Puma at last weekend’s Goodwood Festival of Speed, where he completed runs up the famous hillclimb.

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The 35-year-old topped the timed Shootout runs during a rain affected session on Friday, before handing the car over to M-Sport WRC2 driver Adrien Fourmaux, who finished eighth overall in last Sunday’s Shootout.

M-Sport has entered Tanak into the Hyacenter Rally in Finland next week following Rally Estonia to aid preparations for Rally Finland, a round he won with Hyundai last year.

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