Sat 23 Mar 2024

Slow start sees Tänak in need of turnaround in Kenya

Ott Tänak is hoping next week’s Safari Rally Kenya will help get his challenge for this year’s World Rally Championship back on track.

Hyundai’s Estonian star has misfired through the first two rounds of the series - going off the road on both Rallye Monte-Carlo and Rally Sweden has left him fifth in the standings and 27 points down on his team-mate and points leader Thierry Neuville.

While Tänak has shown plenty of speed in Africa in the past, the 2019 world champion has rarely had the rub of the green when it’s come to an overall placing. His podium third spot on the Safari’s 2021 return to the WRC calendar remains a highlight. He’s looking to change that in Naivasha next week.

“Personally,” Tänak said, “I’ve not managed to get into the groove yet this season and don’t have any strong results. I hope I can change that by keeping things clean and scoring well in this rally. I need to deliver.

“Safari Rally Kenya is a special challenge. To do well you need endurance, especially as the weather can be unpredictable and the roads are very rough, so altogether it is very hard to win there. On the stages it is a lot about the performance of the cars. Of course, with the current Rally1 cars there are places where you can’t be just fast and flat-out, but performance is still key.”

Having struggled with the i20 N Rally1 though Monte and Sweden, Tänak is hoping recent work on the car has helped improve that area.

He added: “The preparations and testing in Spain were important for us. At the last two rallies we've been struggling with the engine mapping, so it was crucial to get to high altitude to help things feel more comfortable for Kenya.”

Starts: Thursday, July 18, 2024 at 4:31:00 AM
Starts: Friday, July 26, 2024 at 7:00:00 AM
Starts: Saturday, July 27, 2024 at 6:00:00 AM