Tanak had only driven 500 kilometres in his Ford Fiesta S2000 prior to the start of this event, split between three practice rallies in Finland, Estonia and Latvia, as well as some tests.
Nonetheless, he ends the day just over 20 seconds behind class leader Nasser Al-Attiyah in a similar car, having steered clear of mistakes all day. “I’m pretty pleased with him,” said Martin, whose MM Motorsport outfit is running the car. “He’s stayed sensible, done some good times, and he’s still got a chance of winning. But the most important thing when you’re doing a championship is not to come away with a zero score, and I think he understands that.”
Tanak has won two stages so far, but Martin believes that the Estonian youngster should be concentrating on consistency rather than outright pace. “His speed is obviously there: he’s already beaten the local guys in a Finnish national rally, which is an incredibly tough thing to do. He just needs to control it and carry on like this tomorrow.”
Tanak had a scare in the morning when he reported some overheating problems on his Fiesta, but it turned out to have no serious consequences. “That was probably blown up out of proportion,” said Martin. “We thought first of all that it might have been serious, but in the end it was nothing. The car’s been very good. I’ve tested it myself and while there’s not a lot of power, it teaches young drivers a lot.”
Former Junior world rally champion Martin Prokop is currently third in the Super 2000 standings in Mexico.