Has Ott Tänak already said goodbye to the title?

With more than 50 points behind Sébastien Ogier (Toyota), one retirement and two finishes outside the Top 20, the Estonian is in a bad way in the fight for the title. But is he definitely out of the race?

Published on 11/06/2021 à 19:24

Gonzalo Forbes

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Has Ott Tänak already said goodbye to the title?

After five rounds, Ott Tänak is already far behind Sébstien Ogier. ©DPPI/N. Katikis

As we approach mid-season, the first trends for title allocation are starting to emerge. Among the Manufacturers, Toyota is well on its way to winning the 5th title in its history. With 231 points on its scoreboard, the Japanese brand is already 49 lengths ahead of Hyundai and 149 over M-Sport.

Among the pilots, if Sébastien Ogier and Elfyn Evans, two representatives of Toyota, stand in 11 points with advantage for the first, Ott Tänak (Hyundai) for example is suffering the blow. After five contested rounds, the 2019 champion is 4th, exactly 57 points behind the leader. A hole.

Logically a candidate for the title before the start of the season, the Estonian found himself in this position despite himself. Forced to retire in Monte-Carlo for the first round, he rectified the situation by winning during the Arctic Rally in Finland, the second meeting of the 2021 campaign. did not go as planned and his campaign took a completely different turn.

Fourth overall in Croatia, Ott Tänak then experienced dark days in Portugal and Italy where bad luck absolutely did not spare him.

Leader in Portuguese lands, the native of Kärla was in a good position to win his second rally of the year before he experienced the first mishap of his current bad series. With a lead of more than 20 seconds over Elfyn Evans before the 12th of 20 special stages, the Estonian saw his suspension give way and his chances of victory go up in smoke.

In Italy, again. Still leading the rally and in style, Ott Tänak hit a rock positioned in the middle of the road which once again cost him the suspension and above all his success at the end of the weekend.

Unlucky? Surely, but didn't he overdo it on this one? The question can be asked but that would be reproaching a world champion for wanting to ensure victory at all costs.

Hyundai director Andrea Adamo also went in this direction in our columns, not questioning his driver. “ I don't think the part is too fragile and I don't think it's a pilot error. When you hit a huge rock, chances are it will break. We could make a tank, but I don't know if it will be very fast! We could improve the protections, but the arm has been the same since 2017. Sometimes it works, others not. I don't believe in luck or bad luck ».

Regardless, the damage is done. Twice in a row on the mat, Ott Tänak was content with the points offered by the Power Stage (5 in Portugal and 4 in Italy) to “limit the damage”. Unfortunately, this is insufficient pace for a driver aiming for the title at the end of the season.

At the gates of the Top 3 in the drivers' ranking, Ott Tänak is today a simple spectator of the fight for the title between Sébastien Ogier and Elfyn Evans, spared from technical problems. If mathematically everything is still possible, the task seems more complicated and even a feat. With almost 60 points to go, the Estonian can only hope for a miracle to glean the second world crown of his career. In any case, he doesn't give up. “ The car is fast, we just need to improve its reliability. I'm sure we can do it ».

Gonzalo Forbes

In charge of promotion formulas (F2, F3, FRECA, F4...). Carried by the grace of Franco Colapinto.

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