Ott Tänak is providing M-Sport Ford with feedback it has never had before, according to team principal Richard Millener.
Tänak, on his first World Rally Championship start with M-Sport since Rally Australia in 2017, struggled with power-steering issues throughout the second full day of the Monte Carlo Rally before eventually finishing fifth.
The impact Tänak has already had on the team, however, has helped M-Sport identify both short and long-term issues to resolve with the Ford Puma Rally1 machine.
Tänak’s last stint at M-Sport came at the beginning of the previous WRC ruleset and he’s had minimal time since his departure from Hyundai to fully get to grips with the Puma.
But this, according to Millener, has its own benefits as Tänak is able to bring a fresh perspective on his new surroundings.
“His feedback of the base car is very good, we just need to work a little bit more on some setups for him which suit him [better],” Millener told DirtFish.
“He’s a completely different driver with whom we’ve worked with so far when we’ve been developing and using the car, and we are getting different feedback that we’ve not had before.
“So, you’ve got to react to that. Some of it we can probably do with stuff we already have, some of it will go into the longer-term plan for the year of what we approach, which direction we take.”
M-Sport managing director Malcolm Wilson has previously declared that Tänak’s main requests revolve around “mainly just setup and geometry things” and that means Wilson’s confident they are easy to solve.
He’s also noticed an immediate effect within the team since Tänak’s arrival back from Hyundai last December.
“It’s got everybody standing to attention,” Wilson told DirtFish.
“From the first test in Greystoke, it’s obvious – we’ve got a leader again.
“It just became so apparent to me at the first test that this is what I want. We work to this goal, this is what I want.
“Why are we doing this? Why are we doing that? What about this? What about that?”