Based in the north of Estonia, the Viru Rally offered similar roads to those further south which will make their debut at world rallying’s highest level in September. For Tänak, just getting out and driving his Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC in competition for the first since Rally México in March was the best news.
“It was a great feeling to be out competing again,” said Tänak, “and it’s nice to win a rally with Hyundai. I have to say a big thanks to the team for bringing the car to this event. It was quite a small event and it’s not always easy to make this sort of thing happen for a big team, so thank you to all the guys for that.
“It was really important for me to get back out there and start driving again,” he added. “I have been doing some testing a little bit recently, so I have done some driving – but it was good to get the feeling of the butterflies in your stomach while driving out to the first stage again. It’s been a long time!”
Rally Estonia teaser
Tänak dominated the seven-stage event, winning by 1m43s and setting fastest time on all but the final test. Mixed conditions during the Rakvere-based event offered a decent range of grip levels on the fast stages.
Tänak, like his Hyundai team-mate Thierry Neuville tested for two days in Finland last month, but it’s when the competition starts that you find out more about the car.
“When you’re testing, you are using the same piece of road,” said Tänak, “but when the rally comes, the conditions are changing. It was good. Useful.”
Rally Estonia’s place on the eight-round WRC calendar was confirmed last week. The September 4-6 event will be the first time Tänak has competed at home in the WRC.