The world champion dominated the warm-up on his home Estonian roads, winning seven from eight stages to lead Kalle Rovanperä home. But Tänak was quick to point out that was the test. Next week is where the real deal begins.
“There was some kind of competition [last weekend],” said Tänak. “Every stage was timed, but it was just, let’s say, a test event. It’s hard to say where everybody was really, there was no fight for the points on this one.
“You learn things when you are testing. But all the time you are using the same piece of road, so you definitely learn more when you are competing.
“I think we learned quite a lot. You get so many different conditions which are a bit unexpected when you are on a rally. We’ve had some really good feedback from the rally.”
Video: Rally Estonia
Tänak arrives at Estonia’s first ever WRC round on a home hat-trick, having won both preparation events that he started in the country, the Viru Rally in July and last weekend’s success. And the 32-year-old believes his Hyundai Motorsport team has made big progress.
“I have the belief in my team that they can do the job. I think compared with where Hyundai was in Finland last year to where we are now, already we have done quite a lot of work.
“It was the most competitive event for me in the car, but the competition will be more next weekend,” added Tänak, who has just three WRC starts to his name in Hyundai’s i20 following his move from Toyota Gazoo Racing after winning the world title last year.
Rally Estonia begins next Friday, with a curtain-raising evening speed test on the edge of host town Tartu.
• Full coverage from Rally Estonia 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.
Photograph by Ray Põder