Toyota’s Ott Tanak with co-driver Martin Jarveoja took their second FIA World Rally Championship of 2018 in Finland last weekend, but the Estonian still feels he is some way behind the leaders to fight for the title.
Tanak has 107 points to championship leader Hyundai’s Thierry Neuville’s 153 and M-Sport’s Sebastien Ogier’s 132 after eight rallies, with five remaining in the season. The difference is of 46 points, largely due to Neuville’s consistency.
The Belgian has three wins and a podium but has scored in every rally, whereas Ogier also has three wins and a podium but he retired in Portugal – the same event where Tanak was also a non-finisher, where Neuville won.
To add, Tanak has two wins and podiums in all but his non-scoring finish in Mexico along with DNF in Portugal means, he has fallen short. The Estonian will need a win and a poor result from Neuville and Ogier to become a solid contender.
“It doesn’t really reignite our championship challenge, we need many more wins,” he said. “We have had many issues this year and we are still quite far off, but let’s say it is not bad to go like this. We need to take it rally-by-rally and take maximum points again.”
The Estonian, meanwhile, celebrated a handsome win in Rally Finland where Toyota dominated with Jari-Matti Latvala took third. It helped the Japanese manufacturer to close in on M-Sport in the manufacturers’ standings as they sit only one point apart.
“I have a lot of support in the team – everyone is pushing really hard,” said Tanak after the win. “I guess if you work together as one, then these results are achievable and that is what happened this weekend with a very special home win for the team.
“We were preparing as hard as we could. We had a big job [to do] and it looks like everything was perfect. The preparation has been nice and now we have the result we’ve been looking for.”
The only glitch for Toyota in an otherwise a strong outing was Esapekka Lappi’s retirement on the final day. The 2017 winner was running strongly on Saturday to close-up on the Top 3, but an off in the Sunday morning stage ended his fine run.