Richard Millener, M-Sport’s customer liaison manager, explained the background behind the move and why the difficult decision has actually boosted Tanak’s chances on the two remaining all-asphalt rounds of the 2012 FIA World Rally Championship season in France and Spain.
“WRC teams are bound by regulations on the amount of transmissions, engines, chassis that can be used throughout the season,” said Millener. “For Germany Ott’s transmissions were in the first of a three-event link - Germany, France and Spain.
“During the event Ott caused damage to one of his allotted rear differentials. Withdrawing Ott from the event was a big decision and a big sacrifice but it means that we can now seal new transmissions for the remainder of the link without incurring a penalty as described in the WRC regulations.
“Under the regulations we could have still finished the event with Ott and claimed a new transmission set by using a ‘joker’, however due to the number of events remaining this year we have decided to keep this option should we need it at a later date when a driver of the M-Sport Ford World Rally Team is in a higher position.”
Tanak and co-driver Kuldar Sikk had finished ninth on the road in Germany in their Ford Fiesta RS WRC prior to their subsequent withdrawal. They impressed by claiming their first two stage wins on Tarmac.