Reigning FIA World Rally Champion Ott Tänak and co-driver Martin Järveoja stormed to a win on their home event as the championship returned after a six month break due to the COVID-19 pandemic last weekend.
Local home hero Tänak won on home soil in the first WRC round to be held in his native Estonia after it was added to the revised 2020 calendar as a replacement to some of the originally planned rounds including Wales Rally GB and Rally Finland.
The win was the first for Tänak since his move to Hyundai Motorsport and it marked the pairs third consecutive podium result of the season, having finished second in both Sweden and Mexico earlier this year before the series ground to a halt due to the coronavirus crisis.
Tänak took the third fastest time on the opening-stage, Tartu vaid, on Saturday afternoon but did fall down the leaderboard after the second stage held – Pragli 1. As they headed to stage three, Kanepi 1, Tänak managed to win the stage and from there held on to the lead to the finish of the event on Sunday morning.
The win also enabled Tänak to climb up the Drivers’ Championship to third and is now just 13 points behind current leader Sébastien Ogier.
“I am happy to take this first win for Hyundai Motorsport. It means a lot, especially in my home event. There was a lot of pressure this weekend, to be honest, and moments of stress which are now relief! The first WRC event in Estonia was one that I had to win, while also knowing it would be my first with Hyundai Motorsport.” Tänak said.
“It was extremely important to bring it home. I couldn’t afford any mistakes, taking no risks but also performing with the required pace to win; bringing all of that together was a real challenge. We had to use this chance to catch back points for the championship, and thankfully we were able to use it well. My thanks to the whole team, who have all been working very hard during the past months; it’s been a truly great job and we must keep on pushing because we’ve shown what we can achieve.”
The next rally in the 2020 season, Rally Turkey, will take place between 18-20 September on challenging gravel roads around the Marmaris region of the country.