Ott Tänak dominated last weekend’s Kehala Rally in Estonia. Of course, he did. We know he intended to do nothing less than that in his Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC, and we already know his presence was a way of helping Estonia’s rallying scene get used to a new way of event management in the era of COVID-19.
But it has also come to light that the reigning World Rally Champion was using the nine-stage rally to do some aerodynamic testing for his usual ride.
As found out by WRCwings – a website that focuses on the World Rally Championship’s technical developments – Tänak was using a modified front diveplane configuration that featured more serrations and a new endplate on several of the stages.
A gurney flap was also spotted above the front wheels, as well as new side fences and a revised radiator inlet.
The reason Tänak was trialing these parts in competition is down to the WRC’s strict testing regulations, which can be circumvented by using national-level rallies as test days.
As one of only two Rally1 entrants, the other being Georg Gross in a Ford Fiesta WRC, Tänak had an easy path to victory and opened up a gap of 1m22.3 seconds over his countryman after winning all nine stages.
In third place was his Hyundai Motorsport N team-mate Ole Christian Veiby, who will be making his Rally1 debut on the Monza Rally but was driving an R5 car on Kehala and finished 23.6s behind Gross.
Latvian Rally Championship frontrunner Gregor Jeets finished fourth on Kehala in a Tehase Auto-run Škoda Fabia R5, just 3.9s ahead of ALM Motorsport’s Georg Linnamäe.
The 22-year-old finished fourth in the Estonian Rally Championship this year in the same Volkswagen Polo GTI R5 he was driving on the non-championship Kehala Rally.