Rally Turkey winner Ott Tänak wants his Toyota Gazoo Racing team to keep improving so he can stay in the WRC title fight.
The Estonian fired himself into drivers’ championship contention with a strategically-perfect performance on Turkey’s tough gravel roads.
Leading team-mate Jari-Matti Latvala home after 17 stages also handed the Japanese manufacturer its first one-two since it returned to the World Rally Championship in 2017.
Tänak’s third WRC win in a row has promoted him to second place in the drivers’ standings – just 13 points behind Thierry Neuville – and also moved Toyota to the top of the manufacturers’ points.
With a maiden WRC crown now in his sights, Tänak wants his team to keep developing its Yaris WRC so he can continue his point-scoring form at the final three rallies.
“We are in the fight now and we need to focus on this. All the team need to keep their heads down and keep working and focus on the next events. We didn’t have the speed at times [in Turkey] and we need to keep improving if we want to stay in this fight,” the 30-year-old said.
“The coming events are different challenges. All the people in the team are so motivated to do well. We hope we have enough.”
The latest incarnation of Rally Turkey proved to be a punishing event for the WRC crews, with Tänak describing it as the toughest rally of 2018 so far.
“It was the biggest challenge we have in all the season,” he explained. “Many times, it was like a lottery to get through without any problems. I think the punishment these cars were taking was crazy. Every car that managed to finish without Rally 2 or without stopping in the stage, the teams did a great job.”
Team principal Tommi Mäkinen was happy to see Tänak take his fourth WRC win of the season and believes the title showdown between his in-form driver, Neuville and current champion Sébastien Ogier will make for a thrilling end to the year.
He said: “I think if you look at the last three rallies, everything is looking very good at the moment. I am sure it is going to be very exciting to the end of the year. I am sure we will see some very fast cars, absolutely flat out on the next rallies.”