Ott Tänak has scotched speculation that this week’s Rally Estonia could challenge to become the fastest ever round of the World Rally Championship.
The Estonian won last year’s WRC Promotional event at an average speed of 74.75mph (120.30kph) – just over 4mph slower than Kris Meeke’s record-busting run through Rally Finland in 2016.
There had been growing speculation that the Northern Irishman’s mantle could be taken as the WRC descends on the super-fast Baltic stages for the first time.
The reigning world champion’s not so sure.
“They have made many new smaller sections of road in the stages to bring the average speed down and definitely this is not going to be too fast. In the previous years it has been faster. This year, let’s say, we can’t call it slow, but it’s definitely slower,” Tänak told DirtFish.
Discussing this week’s stages, Hyundai Motorsport’s local hero said: “Generally the stages are not so bad. They have put some sections in to try to get some longer distances [in some stages], but overall it’s quite good. Hopefully the weather should dry out a bit, but if it rains during the race then it could break up a little bit.”
While Tänak admits he knows the nature of this week’s stages, he hasn’t driven them all before.
“There is a lot of new stuff,” he said. “I think more than half [of the route] is new that I have never been on. The new parts, because they have physically been building these brand new roads in the last few months, nobody could have driven them.”