Wednesday | 30 Jun 2021

Tänak wants Safari to be more hard-hitting

Safari Rally Kenya podium finisher Ott Tänak has called on the organisers to make the route even tougher next year.

The Estonian claimed he drove at 60 per cent throughout last week’s rally. He was one of the few frontrunners not to suffer mechanical problems induced by the punishing gravel tracks in the Great Rift Valley around Lakes Naivasha and Elmenteita.

Tänak would have been in the final day fight for victory were it not for a problem with the heated windscreen in his Hyundai i20 which forced him to stop and wipe clear the misted glass.

Despite that technical glitch, which came in the rain on the second run at Saturday’s Sleeping Warrior test and cost almost two minutes, Tänak said he enjoyed the challenge of the rough tracks.

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“The first day and Sunday was definitely more challenging,” said the 2019 world champion.

“But when you have stages like Saturday, which was more like driving in Europe, that was nothing special [in terms of roughness]. The Safari needs to be like a Safari and when we have that then it’s a special place and I enjoy it.”

Tänak was running in third place, 14sec behind Takamoto Katsuta when his car suffered the demisting issue and would have been fighting for the lead when team-mate Thierry Neuville went out on Sunday morning with damaged suspension.

“It’s unfortunate what happened to Thierry,” said Tänak. “I think it was doable to push for the win. I was taking really big care here, I was keeping a big margin with my driving, but some mistake or weak point have paid badly. I think we did all we could, but for sure next year it can be better.”

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