AFTER THREE PODIUMS SO FAR THIS YEAR, OTT TÄNAK IS ENJOYING HIS BEST EVER START TO A WRC SEASON, AND IT’S A RECORD HE IS EAGER TO EXTEND THIS WEEK WHEN THE CHAMPIONSHIP SHIFTS TO VODAFONE RALLY DE PORTUGAL [18 – 21 MAY].
Catapulted back into the big league this year as defending champion Sébastien Ogier’s team-mate at M-Sport, the Estonian lies fourth in the drivers’ standings on 66 points and has reason to feel optimistic after a hard-fought third place on the most recent round in Argentina.
“Portugal starts a series of gravel events that I’m really looking forward to. I’ve always enjoyed the Portuguese roads and we’ve shown good speed there in the past,” said Tänak, who has tackled the rally six times before.
“I feel as though we’ve developed a lot recently and should be looking towards the podium at every gravel event to come. That has to be our goal in Portugal and I’m looking forward to seeing what we can do.
“With the competition so close at the moment, we’ll need to be fully focused and at the top of our game if we want to deliver another strong result. That’s certainly our aim and we’ll be giving it our all as always.”
Tänak and co-driver Martin Järveoja took part in a five-day pre-event test in the north of Portugal, where work focused on evaluating set-up configurations and confirming findings from the squad’s research and development test in April.
With M-Sport leading both the drivers’ and manufacturers’ championship standings, team boss Malcolm Wilson is eager to see the team continue its top-three form.
“Our goal always has to be the podium. With our drivers we have a good chance of maintaining our impressive run and the whole team will be working towards that end,” he said.
“Ott will be full of confidence following an impressive display in Argentina. The stage is set for a great event and, although the win is anyone’s for the taking, that’s where our eyes will be firmly fixed.”