Tänak confident for Mexico after Hyundai gravel debut


Ott Tänak’s week in southern Europe has been worthwhile. The defending World Rally Champion flew home on Sunday with confidence from and comfort in his Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC following his first mileage on gravel.

The Estonian tested the i20 in Spain early in the week then completed the Rallye Serras de Fafe in Portugal on Friday and Saturday.

Asked by DirtFish if he felt comfortable enough to challenge for his first Hyundai win at Rally Mexico later this month, he replied: “We definitely have a good road position and if everything works as it should from the start, then I think we can push for a good result.”

Is a good result a win?

He added: “I hope so, I hope I can feel comfortable enough to push for the win. The feeling was OK, we had a good test, but it’s in the rally where you are always learning more and more. Like I said, we are in a good place on the road – better than the five in front of us – but there are still some guys coming from behind with an even better position than we have.”

Second place in Sweden last month went some way towards making up for his monster crash on the season-opener in Monte Carlo. Tänak says his feeling for the i20 on dirt is already an improvement than on asphalt.



“I believe I feel more in the gravel car,” he said. “Winter is winter and gravel is gravel, they are a bit different, but in some ways the feeling can be a bit similar, so we took that experience from Sweden. The good thing is that I am learning all the time. I started this test and I had zero knowledge of the car and now I’m getting more.”

Tänak drove Hyundai’s test i20 Coupe WRC in Portugal – a car complete with aero updates which will be seen in WRC competition for the first time in Mexico – while Dani Sordo also competed on the event in a current specification.

Last year’s Rally Italy winner was in Portugal to remind himself of the feeling of driving on gravel, something he hasn’t done since his home WRC counter in October last year. Sordo drives Hyundai’s third car, joining Tänak and Thierry Neuville for the León-based Rally Mexico from March 12-15.

“It’s always a pleasure to come to Portugal and drive the iconic stages of Rally Serras de Fafe,” said Sordo. “We enjoyed driving the Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC here and giving the Portuguese fans the opportunity to see the car in action in their national championship.

“There were a lot of supporters who travelled from Spain as well, which is always nice to see. We worked together with Ott and the team to find different solutions and a good set-up for our Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC on gravel. It was really important for us to get into a rhythm before Rally Mexico, and Rally Serras de Fafe was a perfect opportunity to do just that.”