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Wed 22 Mar 2023

Tanak fights to bond with Puma on gravel

Ott Tänak has admitted that he is finding it difficult to gel with his M-Sport Ford Puma Rally1 after a tricky outing at Guanajuato Rally México.

The Estonian driver faced several challenges at the opening gravel round of the season, including turbocharger failure on Friday morning which cost over 14 minutes and destroyed any hopes of repeating his Rally Sweden win.

Tänak fought back to secure a ninth-place finish as well as collecting four bonus points for finishing second in the rally-ending Wolf Power Stage, however, he admitted to feeling uncomfortable aboard the car.

“The car has always been there, but I think me and the car is a bit [of a] mis-match and it's probably a bit of a tricky topic at the moment,” Tänak admitted. “It's positive to at least take some points, because on Friday it didn't look like that would be possible.

"Like I said, the car is there, and the car is obviously competitive in some other hands, but I would say it's not natural for me and I am not able to deliver like I should.”

M-Sport team principal Rich Millener spoke highly of the resilience his team showed at the four-day fixture, which also saw fellow Puma drivers Pierre-Louis Loubet and Jourdan Serderidis run into trouble.

Millener added: “I have to say I am incredibly proud of what the team did to turn Ott’s result around. It went from looking like a retirement to soldiering on and going beyond what we thought possible in service on Friday. This team spirit helped us get Ott back into the top 10 and in a strong enough position to score Power Stage points.”

The championship moves back to asphalt next month for the Croatia Rally, which takes place from 20 - 23 April. Tänak and co-driver Martin Järveoja will prepare for the event by undertaking course car duties in a Puma at next week's Rallye des Ardennes in Belgium.