FIA World Rally Championship

Mäkinen Describes Tänak’s Tactic as ‘Unsportsmanlike’ Behaviour

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Credit: Toyota Gazoo Racing

Toyota Gazoo Racing team principal Tommi Mäkinen has described his thoughts about his former FIA World Rally Championship drivers’ champion Ott Tänak‘s tactical moves from the team orders given out by the Hyundai Motorsport at the Rally Turkey, which was held over the weekend.

Defending world champion Tänak had a costly mistake on the Saturday’s loop when he crashed out and after re-joning the rally, he only focused exclusively on the Power Stage on Sunday.

The Estonian really slowed down a lot in the second-to-last special stage, on the 38-kilometer-long special stage of Cetibel. Tänak chosed the softer tyres over the other drivers for the last loop and drove the second-to-last stage with more than ten minutes slower than the teammate Thierry Neuville to save tyres for the Power Stage to try to claim extra bonus points.

“What Ott did today made him look absolute stupid and unsportsmanlike, I wouldn’t like to see these kind of things [in my team], but there is quite a possibility for this [with some other teams].” Mäkinen told to DirtFish.

Ott Tänak – Credit: Helena El Mokni / Hyundai Motorsport GmbH

“I was absolutely surprised to see him go so slowly, [it was a] big surprise. There is no room for this. This sport is about being flat-out and not making some strategies. We’re not accepting that kind of thing [in Toyota] and I’m sure that Sébastien [Ogier] would not be accepting doing that kind of thing.”

However, Sébastien Ogier himself has succumbed to drastic tactics in his career with earning Power Stage points. In Sweden, for example in 2018 the Frenchman deliberately arrived late at the Power Stage with his Ford to get a better starting position.

Tänak was the second fastest in the Power Stage after Neuville, catching four extra championship points. In the overall championship points classification, the Estonian is currently third with 27 points behind the leader Elfyn Evans, who won the Rally Turkey.

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