Only hybrid kept Tänak in Rally México

He suffered a turbo issue on Friday's opening stage

FIA ERC – Fia European Rally Championship 2023 at Fafe, Portugal

In the lead up to Rally México, the big question was all about the impact of hybrid on Rally1 cars in the thin air of the Guanajuato mountains.

Right now, Ott Tänak wouldn’t have a word said against his friends at Compact Dynamics. Without the battery and the electric motors, he’d be out of the event and facing an enormous uphill task to land points from round three.

As it is, he’s dropped a dozen minutes, so there’s still plenty of fight left in the fightback. But at least he’s still here.

The Estonian said: “Without some hybrid support in some places it was not going to be possible [to make it]. We were lucky to have some extra support [from hybrid], but, anyway, we lost more than 12 minutes, so I guess it was going to be slow anyway.

Recalling the issue which came half way through the opening gravel stage of the season, the 2019 world champion added: “It was quite a struggle in the car. I didn’t feel anything going slowly before, it just switched off.

“I hope that was just a loose pipe but this wasn’t the case.”

Considering the remainder of the event, Tänak pointed out that the limping Puma still had to be rectified.

“First,” he said, “we need to get it fixed and, for sure, we should keep going. It’s my first time driving on gravel and my first feedback was not great when we did the first 15 kilometers of the stage, so we have plenty of job to do.”

Championship leader Tänak coming into México, he’s 12m33s down ahead of the afternoon.

Words:David Evans