Tanak hailed Finland’s win as his most satisfying in the WRC

The 2019 world champion produced an against-the-odds performance to beat rally favorite Kalle Rovanpera and a Toyota fleet to end the Japanese manufacturer’s win at every Rally Finland since rejoining the championship in 2017.

Tanak admitted he had to be in maximum attack mode for the entire rally, since assuming the lead on Friday morning to eventually beat Rovanpera by 6.8s in the Finn’s and the Toyota WRC team’s home event.

The victory came just two weeks after the Tanak finished nearly two minutes adrift of the winner Rovanpera on similar gravel stages in Estonia, highlighting the lack of outright speed from the i20 N compared to the GR Yaris.

Asked if it was the most satisfying victory from his 16 WRC wins, he said: “That’s true. It’s very satisfying. It’s a very special moment.

“Mentally, it’s really not easy, there’s always a lot of pressure from behind. We have some very strong competitors coming from behind. It’s not easy to beat the Finns and Toyota.

“In a lot of places, it’s a bit fuzzy and it’s not completely under control but when you’re in the zone, you do your best and more.

“I didn’t even think about being competitive for victory after Estonia when we lost the rally by almost two minutes.

“We didn’t think we’d have any chance to be competitive here, so we were surprised.”

Ott Tanak, Martin Jarveoja, Hyundai World Rally Team Hyundai i20 N Rally1

Photo by: Austral / Hyundai Motorsport

The win was Tanak’s third win at Rally Finland after scoring back-to-back victories in 2018 and 2019 driving for Toyota.

Hyundai deputy team director Julien Moncet praised the performance from Tanak to deliver Hyundai’s first win at Rally Finland.

“It’s the first time we’ve won in Finland and we’ve had nine years in the WRC, and it’s always been very difficult for us here. It’s a relief. We came here with little expectations and maybe no expectations at all.

“We know we have a lot to do, but Ott has done an absolutely fantastic race and is mostly responsible for the result.

“I think somehow he got the manual of how to use our car and when everything comes together he is unbeatable. Only Kalle and Ott are on this other level.”

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