Germany win was Tänak’s toughest
Ott Tänak counts yesterday’s ADAC Rally Deutschland victory as the hardest of his career.
His fifth WRC success, which moved him level with mentor and fellow Estonian Markko Märtin, was only achieved after an intense battle with world champion Sébastien Ogier.
The pair fought tooth and nail for almost two days until Ogier clipped a rock and stopped to replace a damaged wheel in Saturday afternoon’s second pass through the marathon Panzerplatte speed test.
It left Tänak clear to claim his second consecutive Germany win, and his second straight WRC victory. The Toyota Yaris driver headed championship leader Thierry Neuville by 39.2sec, but admitted it was Ogier who put him under pressure.
“It was the toughest victory I’ve had. It was a really big job and I had to push so hard for the first two days. Seb was really pressuring me from behind,” he said.
“Saturday maybe I felt it the most because I didn’t feel too comfortable in the car at that moment and when somebody that strong is pushing you from behind, then you really don’t want to lose. I had to pull myself together to push and keep my pace up.”
Tänak has dropped just one point from the last two rallies. He remains third in the championship standings but cut the deficit to Neuville to 36 points, and trails Ogier by 13 with four rounds remaining.
However, he sidestepped suggestions he has forced his way into the title fight after wins in Finland and Germany.
“It’s definitely nice to see we’re moving in the right direction, but we’re still a long way off. My target remains the same - to do it event by event.
“I’ll now focus on the next event in Turkey. We’ll have a good long test before the rally and will try to be well prepared. It’s an event we know almost nothing about, so there will be a lot of unknowns,” said Tänak.
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