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Mon 06 Jun 2022

Tänak: This one is for the team

Rally Italia Sardegna winner Ott Tänak says his first World Rally Championship victory of the season is testament to Hyundai Motorsport's hard work following a forgettable start to the year.

The 2019 FIA World Rally Champion delivered his first success of the hybrid era and his first win since last year’s Arctic Rally Finland on the Italian island.

Much as he and co-driver Martin Järveoja enjoyed that success, the Estonian pair were quick to point to the efforts made by their colleagues in the Alzenau-based team.

Tänak said: “I think we know we were a little bit late [developing the i20 N Rally1], but the whole team has worked so hard – it’s been really tough for them with everything happening so late. They have been fighting hard and we’ve had some podiums, but nobody’s been so happy.

“Those guys kept on working and kept on pushing and keeping everything together – so this one is definitely for them.

“I’m really happy with the win – especially on such a tough rally like this one. The [Wolf] Power Stage was tough, it was like Safari at times in there. But we have done it. It’s been challenging, but this result shows that all the hard work pays off.”

Tänak admitted the most recent work  - made after Vodafone Rally de Portugal just two weeks ago - had paid the biggest dividends. 

“We’ve made some steps since Portugal and that has helped. We’ve improved the feeling and the performance of the car.”

Tänak’s win was his second in Alghero, following his maiden WRC victory when he was driving an M-Sport Ford Fiesta RS WRC in 2017. It’s a success which elevates him to third in the championship, just three points behind team-mate Thierry Neuville.

His result, allied to Dani Sordo’s third place in the sister i20 N, helps Hyundai Motorsport narrow the gap in the Manufacturers’ Championship to leader Toyota Gazoo Racing – they’re now just 39 points adrift of their Finnish-based rivals.