Tuesday | 19 Jan 2021

Tänak banishes memories of Monte accident

Ott Tänak has dismissed suggestions that last year’s monster Rallye Monte-Carlo crash could prey on his mind when he returns to the French Alps this week.

Twelve months ago the Estonian’s Hyundai Motorsport debut came to an abrupt end when his i20 flew off the road after a compression on Friday’s Saint-Clément – Freissinières test.

The badly damaged car came to rest on a road more than 100m down a hillside, but Tänak and co-driver Martin Järveoja escaped injury.

The same section is on the route for this year’s opening FIA World Rally Championship encounter but Tänak is not letting it worry him.

Video: Ott Tänak crash

“That was a long time ago already and it wasn’t my first accident,” he said. “Experience definitely is a big thing for the Monte. It helps to come here and know that you have seen a lot of the conditions which we might be getting on the rally.

“If the conditions are always changing, this is a rally where you have to think more and work out what is the best way. Sometimes it’s not completely about the performance and speed, it can be about making the correct tyre strategy for all the stages.”

Tänak starts his second season with the Korean manufacturer and is ready to put lessons learned last year into practice in his bid to regain the world drivers’ crown he won with Toyota Gazoo Racing in 2019.

“Our target is the championship title and for that we need to score very high on every event. In general the car development has gone well from last year, we have done quite a lot and the car’s not so similar as it was. I don’t think we should be far away with the car we have,” he said.

Video: Tänak talks through crash

“This is the last year for this generation of these cars, so maybe there’s not so much more to change, it’s more or less about the details now.

“Last year was not easy, but I’m happy with how well we managed to work together with the team during these difficult times and I believe all of that makes us stronger for the 2021 season,” he added.

• Full coverage from Rallye Monte-Carlo will be available on WRC+ All Live here, including every stage broadcast as it happens as well as key interviews, features and expert analysis from the service park.

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