Here at DirtFish, we’re keen to bring you the thoughts of as many rallying figures as we can during these unprecedented times – including through this new feature series.
It’s a simple premise: the same set of six questions, all asked to personalities throughout the rallying community.
Our latest interviewee is none other than the reigning World Rally Championship and Hyundai’s latest hire: Ott Tänak.
What’s your best rallying memory, and why?
Definitely the World Championship title. That was the dream and there’s no doubt it lived up to the dream when we won it in Spain last year. It was a dream, but also it was a lot of work from me and many other people to make this happen. There was a lot of emotion from this one.
If you could make one change in rallying, what would it be and why?
I would change my approach in 2012. They were all silly accidents; there were no smart accidents that year! Maybe I would have taken off some speed and been a bit more boring that year – but then again if I took off some of the speed maybe I wouldn’t have made it.
If you could choose one era to live in our sport, which one would it be and why?
The last three years, this time we have now, these cars have been really good. The competition has been fun and close. The other time was, when was it, this all-active time between maybe 2003 and 2006. This was a good time and in terms of the technology maybe this was the best time. I did a local rally in Markko Märtin’s 2003 Ford Focus and it was really interesting to drive.
How did rallying help you through lockdown?
I was not so linked with rallying so much. I had a steering wheel and some pedals, I bought myself… I would not call it a sim, it’s just the seat pedals and screen and the game to play a bit.
I did a bit, but I would still say maybe the kids were using it more. It was always occupied; I had to book myself a slot to get on there! The children are getting better. My son is three and he is just flat out through everything!
Which rally are you looking forward to most once we’re through this and why?
I really hoped we could return in Finland. Now I look forward to Estonia. It will be a challenge to beat the Toyotas on a fast rally.
You can have a conversation with one person from the history of rallying, who would it be and what would you talk about?
That’s a tough one. Maybe I need to think about this one. [Colin] McRae seemed to be a cool guy who was interested in many things, lots of technical things and different areas. Maybe other people from that time could talk, but this guy [McRae] I definitely missed.
Actually, the one guy who I missed the most from the past, the one guy I would really like to talk to is Michael Park (Tänak’s friend and Markko Märtin’s co-driver who died in a crash in 2005).
I would have asked many things to him – but mainly how to manage Markko! I guess he knew it. So, yes, he’s the person I would really like to talk most to.