World Rally Championship leader Sébastien Ogier believes the performance of the Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC was “exaggerated” on Rally Estonia by Ott Tänak’s and Craig Breen’s road position.
Tänak – who won the rally from Breen – started Saturday’s first loop of five stages fifth on the road with Breen down in ninth. Ogier meanwhile was at the head of the field, with his team-mates Elfyn Evans and Kalle Rovanperä starting second and fourth respectively.
The Toyota Yaris WRC did claim more stage wins than the Hyundai – taking 11, with Hyundai drivers Tänak, Breen and Thierry Neuville scoring six – but on balance the i20 looked more than a match for its nearest rival, which hasn’t been the case on fast gravel rallies in recent years.
Ogier said he could see the Hyundai has made progress on the faster stages, but added that he is positive Toyota can turn the tables on Hyundai in its “playground” in Turkey in two weeks.
“They did some positive step for sure,” Ogier told DirtFish.
“I think accumulated with their road position that’s most probably exaggerated but there’s definitely some area where they are much faster than before it looks like at least.
“But now actually I’m very impassioned to be in Turkey because I’m impassioned to see what step we’ve done in their playground.
“Definitely we’ve done some good steps recently and very positive progress.”
Ogier added he felt he could have given Tänak more to think about had he not toiled on Saturday afternoon – during which he said “more or less everything went wrong”.
“It’s still a positive weekend for me,” he said. “For sure there is some frustration at the end because I had definitely potential to do better.
“We had a great start to the rally yesterday [Saturday] morning, yesterday afternoon unfortunately a lot of trouble slowed us down.
“Today [Sunday] was an OK day where we did the job to stay on the podium but at the end I’m sure we could’ve been much closer to Ott and put him much more under pressure.
“It’s not a surprise to see him winning here but definitely we could’ve been closer.”