Wednesday | 29 Jan 2020

Tänak rues loss of seat time

Champion aims to play catch-up

Ott Tänak says his focus is now firmly on finding his feet in a gravel-specification Hyundai i20 following last week’s monster Rallye Monte-Carlo crash.

The reigning world champion departed his debut outing with the Korean squad on the fourth stage of the season-opener.

His car flew off the road after hitting a compression in sixth gear at more than 190kph. It rolled multiple times before coming to rest almost 15sec later on a road more than 100 metres down the hillside.

Tänak and co-driver Martin Järveoja spent a night in hospital for observation before being given the all-clear. Frustratingly for Tänak, the accident cost him valuable seat time and the opportunity to find out more about his new car.

“The biggest shame is that we couldn’t spend too much time in the car,” said the Estonian. “On the first evening I did not feel too good, but we improved the car overnight and already on Friday morning it felt better.

Ott Tänak's car was destroyed after rolling more than 100 metres down a hillside

“But then the ride was cut a bit short. It was a proper accident. When the car was destroyed and it’s not possible to continue, that means it was a good one…..

“As we know, accidents happen in motorsport, it’s nothing new. Our plan is the same. This is a long season and it’s time to fight back. We’re fit and we’re ready for that. Now it’s a long break in, let’s say, the Tarmac championship. The next one (asphalt round) is at the end of the year. Now we have to focus on the dirt.”

Tänak is scheduled to test for Rally Sweden (13 - 16 February) next week. He won the Torsby-based event in a Toyota Yaris last season.

Video: Ott Tänak crash