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Wed 26 Apr 2023

Croatia podium bittersweet for Tänak

Ott Tänak believes his M-Sport Ford team still has some work to do despite securing a top-three result at last week’s Croatia Rally.

Tänak and co-driver Martin Järveoja finished second overall at the season’s first pure asphalt fixture, securing their second podium in four rallies. The pair now sit just four points adrift of joint championship leaders Elfyn Evans and Sébastien Ogier in fourth overall.

But although Tänak, who re-joined M-Sport Ford from Hyundai at the beginning of this year, felt that some improvements had been made to his Puma, he also struggled with some aspects of the car’s performance.

“No doubt there has been some improvements, like we could see on Friday and Saturday,” he explained. “There were some stages where it almost started to come, and we were feeling it was a bit like we were racing but always there was something to take us down again.”

The Estonian had been closing in on leader Evans early on Saturday afternoon, but a transmission issue coupled with a hydraulic problem later in the day prevented him from continuing his pursuit of the Welshman.

“[There were] quite a few late nights at service, but there are some promising things,” he said. “For sure, [we have] plenty of work to do to get all the package together to make sure we are consistent and reliable through all the weekend.

“I am sure the guys back in Dovenby [Hall, M-Sport’s base] and also here in the container of engineers, they are definitely motivated to get it done, at least we will give it a good try.”

Tänak begins his preparations for Vodafone Rally de Portugal with a test this week. The gravel event is based in Matosinhos from 11 - 14 May.

Croatia Rally 2023: Event Highlights