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Mon 08 Aug 2022

Tänak: Finland win the best I've ever had

Hyundai Motorsport star Ott Tänak has tipped his Secto Rally Finland victory as the best of his career.

Tänak arrived in Jyväskylä with mixed emotions following a troubled run on home soil at Rally Estonia last month and even played down his chances in the run-up to the event. The pressure was on. 

But the 2019 world champion led from the second stage - facing off a hardy Toyota Gazoo Racing challenge fronted by none other than points leader Kalle Rovanperä. 

It’s no secret Tänak had to work extra hard for this one. From the very start, he made no bones about the fact he was feeling uncomfortable aboard his i20 N. At the end of Friday morning’s Laukaa, he even went as far as saying his hands were shaking.

Risks had to be taken - and they were. But, at the end of it all, Tänak believes they were wholly worthwhile. 

“I can’t say it’s really my best performance by driving,” he said. "But it’s definitely the best win I’ve ever had. 

“In Estonia we were two minutes behind. In a fast rally, two minutes is like another place. We were not looking to have a performance and, like we saw on shakedown as well, I was not really expecting anything great from here. 

“Without expecting anything, in the end this came out so I am quite happy with that. It was a tough weekend - actually a bit mentally difficult - but in the end we got there,” he added.

Tänak admitted he feared the speed of the GR Yaris cars as the weekend rolled out. He ended Friday’s opening leg 21.0sec clear of runner-up Rovanperä, but the Finn had sliced that deficit to 8.4sec by the following evening. 

“I was quite sure that on Saturday morning all three Toyotas would just go past, but then it was not happening,” he admitted.

“Then on Saturday afternoon in the rougher conditions we were able to fight back quite hard and Kalle was still not coming that much closer. Even on the final morning I was still not confident. 

“For me, the first stage [on Sunday] was crucial and there I pushed hard and we actually managed to take some time. After that, it was just about managing things.”

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