Ott Tänak admitted that it “was difficult to get used to the pressure” on last weekend’s Rally Spain as he went on to win the FIA World Rally Championship Drivers title.
Tänak’s second place along with a stunning Power Stage victory gave him enough points to claim the championship despite Thierry Neuville winning the mixed-surface event with the Estonian now having a 36-point lead with only 30 remaining on Rally Australia.
Speaking after the end of the final stage on Sunday afternoon, a delighted Tänak said: “It’s hard to know what to say in this moment. The pressure this weekend has been on another level. This has been the target of my life. I knew I couldn’t make any mistakes, but still I had to do a good result to make it happen. So it was massive pressure and it was difficult to get used to it at the beginning.”
“But in the end I was somehow able to relax and do my normal driving. This morning I had a good feeling in the car and could drive with a good rhythm, but Dani [Sordo] was always a bit faster, so I knew it would be hard in the Power Stage to get the points we needed.”
He added: “I pushed hard and in the end it paid off. I’ve had to overcome a lot in my career, so it’s nice to finally achieve this. Thank you to the team; they have done a great job.”
Tänak ‘s other title rival, outgoing champion Sebastien Ogier, ended the event down in eighth after hydraulic issues with the Citroen C3 WRC early in the event cost him any realistic chance of taking the championship fight to Australia.
The final round of the 2019 FIA World Rally Championship, which is rumoured to be Tänak’s last for Toyota GAZOO Racing, takes place between November 14-17.