Mon 03 Apr 2023

Belgian outing invaluable for Tanak

Ott Tänak admitted his course car run on Saturday's Rallye des Ardennes was a worthwhile experience as he looked to further his understanding of a Ford Puma Rally1 Hybrid on asphalt.

Courtesy of a largely dry Rallye Monte-Carlo, the Estonian already has a fair idea of what to expect from an asphalt-specification Puma, but 12 stages and 144 kilometres were very welcome in further levelling that learning curve.

“It was good to be there,” he said. “It was a good chance to get some extra mileage on the Tarmac. The roads and the conditions were tricky, so this was good experience.”

Tänak might have been underplaying an exceptionally wet Belgian Championship counter. The roads around Dinant did, however, offer a perfect opportunity to find a set-up sympathetic to wet, muddy roads and gravel-covered corners. 

“If this is good experience for Croatia, we have to wait for the weather on that rally to see how comparable it is. 

“Croatia can be a tricky event, which can bring lots of surprises.”

Asked how hard he’d driven the Puma, Tänak added: “It’s not about pushing too much, I wasn’t competing. But it is important to get a good feeling. There was plenty for mechanics to do – we tried to do as much as we can.”

Tänak will be looking to go one better than last year’s second place in Zagreb when Croatia Rally gets underway on April 20.

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