Dani Sordo has revealed he was asked to surrender position to Ott Tänak on Friday’s final Acropolis Rally stage but didn’t do so as he received the text message instruction too late.
Hyundais drivers ended Friday in 4-5-6 formation, with Thierry Neuville heading Sordo by 6.2 seconds and Sordo leading Tänak by 8.9s.
Tänak had battled throughout the entire day as the second car on the road, so had done well to keep in touch with his team-mate Sordo who was the ninth car onto the stages.
Road sweeping has been a major problem in Greece, so gaining one position overnight would’ve been of benefit for Tänak as he would have been one place lower in Saturday’s running order.
That’s of particular importance as Tänak is still mathematically in with a shout of winning the drivers’ championship.
Tänak is set to make yet further inroads into Kalle Rovanperä’s lead as he languished down in ninth – and has since fallen out of the points after damaging his rear suspension against a tree.
Sordo is only contesting a partial program in 2022. Acropolis is just his third start from a possible 10.
At Saturday’s midday service and now up to second place behind Neuville, Tänak cryptically told DirtFish that “yesterday Dani was not keen to give me one position” when asked about whether he would ask team management to swap him and Neuville around to boost his Acropolis points haul.
DirtFish asked Sordo for his take on the situation at Saturday’s end-of-day service, and Sordo was initially quite coy.
“I won’t comment anything. A guy, a world champion like him is really fast, he doesn’t need this,” he said.
But pressed if Hyundai had asked Sordo to cede his position to Tänak, Sordo revealed: “Yeah, but I just didn’t see the phone.
“It’s true, but I didn’t see it. If I did, maybe I do it, but just before the stage I don’t watch my phone.
“To send a message two minutes before the stage, I am not on my phone.”
However, even if Sordo had seen the message and reacted accordingly, he doesn’t believe it would have made any difference.
“For me it was not… I will not go into politics because I don’t care obviously, but one position more I don’t think it would mean a lot of seconds.
“If I need to do something important I will do it, of course. But this is nothing, but it’s OK.
“If Ott is mad with me OK, maybe one day he will be OK. If not, it’s no problem.”
With three stages remaining on Sunday, Tänak is 27.9s behind Neuville who is yet to win a WRC rally in a hybrid Rally1 car.
Asked again if he would ask the team to intervene and ensure he finishes ahead of Neuville, Tänak told DirtFish: “It’s nothing for me to request. They do it or they don’t do it, but I guess it’s the decision of the other people.
“There was no support yesterday so I don’t think it changes now,” he added, “but from my side, I will keep pushing and I do everything I can.”
Neuville however wasn’t talking like a driver ready to concede a rally win, describing “the job” as bringing home his first victory of the season.
Asked directly if he would do the unthinkable and slow down to let Tänak win, Neuville told DirtFish: “Unthinkable, you said it already.”