Tänak’s slow-driving tactics “absolutely stupid” – Mäkinen

Toyota WRC boss left unimpressed by actions of former driver, saying his team would never do something similar


Toyota team principal Tommi Mäkinen has labelled Ott Tänak’s decision to drive slowly through Sunday’s Çetibeli stage as “absolutely stupid”.

Tänak, who won last year’s drivers’ title with Mäkinen’s Toyota Gazoo Racing team before switching to rival Hyundai Motorsport for this season, took the softer tire for the final loop and needed to preserve the Michelins beneath him for the powerstage.

In order to do that, he set a time more than 10 minutes slower than the benchmark of team-mate Thierry Neuville through the 23.70-mile Çetibeli test that preceded the bonus-points finale.

“What Ott did today made him look absolute stupid and unsportsmanlike,” Mäkinen told DirtFish.

“I wouldn’t like to see these kind of things [in my team], but there is quite a possibility for this [with some other teams].

“I was absolutely surprised to see him go so slowly, [it was a] big surprise. There is no room for this. This sport is about being flat-out and not making some strategies.

“We’re not accepting that kind of thing [in Toyota] and I’m sure that Sébastien [Ogier] would not be accepting doing that kind of thing.”


Photo: Toyota Gazoo Racing

Tänak was the only driver to run with Michelin’s medium option, and pushing hard through the second run of the event’s longest and most arduous stage would have destroyed the tire for the powerstage.

The Rally Estonia winner, who was competing again on Sunday after retiring on Saturday morning, was second fastest through the Marmaris finale to take four points – missing out on the full five to Neuville by just four tenths of a second.

Tänak declined to comment on his former team principal’s views.