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.”