Tänak: Hyundai’s learned Safari lessons for Acropolis

Kenya was disastrous for Hyundai, but the 2019 WRC champion reckons the squad's learned for the next rough gravel test


Hyundai Motorsport driver Ott Tänak is confident his team learned a rough rally lesson on the Safari Rally Kenya – but he heads to this week’s Acropolis Rally with his fingers crossed for reliability from the i20 Coupe WRC.

This summer’s Nairobi-based event was a disaster for the Korean manufacturer. Dani Sordo dropped back on SS3 when his car lost a wheel, while Tänak suffered a demisting problem when the rain arrived on the final Saturday stage.

But it was Thierry Neuville’s retirement from the lead on the final morning that really hurt. The right-rear suspension on his i20 failed – with speculation that the suspension wasn’t changed ahead of the final day’s action.

Asked if the team was better prepared for rough gravel now, Tänak told DirtFish: “We definitely learned something with the issue that Thierry had in Kenya.


“It was still quite unfortunate and a bit strange that it [the suspension failure] happened, but hopefully they found at least some kind of solution for that as well – and every hard lesson takes you forward so hopefully we went forward.”

DirtFish sources have indicated Hyundai’s Sachs suspension will be the same in Greece as it was in Kenya – a lack of homologation jokers would rule out major change at this point in the season.

Talking about specific suspension concerns, Tänak said: “It’s still the same story. It’s something I can change nothing [about], so just need to do our own [rally] and fingers crossed it stays together.”

Tänak has started the Acropolis twice, finishing Greece’s WRC counter ninth at the wheel of a Ford Fiesta RS WRC in 2012.

“You talk about the names of places and stages,” he added, “but really I’m not sure if I’ve been there – they don’t mean so much to me! I did the rally 10 years ago, obviously I have some idea, but generally it will be a new rally.”

Despite not remembering much about the event, Tänak’s pleased to see it back.

“It’s a legendary event,” he said, “and one which always should be in the calendar and [it’s] definitely nice to go back. But, what do I know about the weather and the conditions?

“I know I fly there and we do rallying – but generally [you can’t] compare Estonian climate and Greece. I’m sure it will be warm, it’s always warm there.”