DirtFish’s David Evans caught up with Hyundai’s Ott Tänak before the start of his home rally in Estonia, which could mark a changing of the guard in the World Rally Championship pecking order on fast rallies.
How much time have you had in the i20 Coupe WRC on fast gravel roads?
I did some testing in Finland [two days in June] and then we have done these two rallies in Estonia. It’s good. OK, it was just testing and test events, but I feel good with the car.
Did you change much during South Estonia Rally?
I didn’t change many settings. Like I said, we’ve been driving quite a lot after the break and we’re starting to get more into the settings and the details – it’s more or less fine-tuning now, there are no big changes for the car anymore.
Did you discover much on that event?
Of course we were still finding out new things. Luckily the conditions were changing throughout the event with some rain sometimes and so we were still learning a bit. But now it’s time to bring all the data together. What we have learned during the test and the small events and, let’s say, next time when we go to some stages with the different conditions then everything needs to be spot-on; we’re not allowed to learn any more. It needs to be correct now.
You feel comfortable with the car on these roads?
The car has improved and, generally, I can say I feel already quite good in the car – at least on these kind of roads. Let’s say, at that moment, I’m not completely sure that we would beat Toyota in Finland, but generally we have worked in this direction and hopefully next year Finland is coming back to the calendar and we want to be ready to at least take the challenge [to beat Toyota].
We know Toyota has been very, very strong on this kind of road and to be on the same kind of level, it means a lot and it’s been a big job. Of course you want to be better but we need to see this week where we are. I think we are all very keen to see what kind of performance we will have from the car. We have all been working a lot, but the guys from the factory have been working very hard.
Who’s time are you going to be looking for at the end of that first longer stage on Saturday morning?
In front of me [on the road, are] the other four drivers starting – they are all ahead of me in the championship, so I’ll be looking for the best time out of these four in the first stage and then will see from there.