Ott Tänak, a first podium in Portugal… and a season that is finally taking off?

Having come very close to victory at the Rally Portugal, Ott Tänak nevertheless scored his first podium in 2024 by scoring the most points. A great way to kick off your season... and get back into the championship.

Published on 14/05/2024 à 13:28

Dorian Grangier

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Ott Tänak, a first podium in Portugal… and a season that is finally taking off?

© Paulo Maria / DPPI

The new points scale established by the WRC this season would almost make the pilots (and us!) schizophrenic. Latest example to date... no later than this Sunday, at the end of the Rally from Portugal. If Sébastien Ogier emerged victorious from the intense duel against Ott Tänak, winning the Lusitanian event for the sixth time, it was the Estonian who carried out the best operation from an accounting point of view.

Indeed, if he finished second in the general classification of the Rally of Portugal, the 2019 world champion almost maximized his collection of points on Sunday, by registering the 7 points for the best driver for the day on Sunday and 4 additional points during the Power Stage. Result: Ott Tänak leaves Portugal with 26 points gleaned, one point more than Sébastien Ogier and two more than his teammate, Thierry Neuville.

In difficulty at the first meetings of the year, suffering from bad luck and poor performances, the native of Kärla finally stood out this season. However, without a slow puncture on Saturday morning, the taciturn Estonian driver considered himself capable of winning his first rally of the year, he who ultimately failed less than eight seconds behind Sébastien Ogier.

“The result isn't too bad, it's just that I was very unfortunate to have had a slow puncture, but otherwise I would say it's very positive, underlines Ott Tänak. Without this puncture, I think I could have aimed for victory. On Friday, I had the most difficulty, but then I got used to the car, which allowed me to find a good rhythm. On Saturday the stages were very different and I was able to understand what I needed to do differently from Friday to get the most out of the car. »

Ott Tänak found confidence with the Hyundai

Despite this frustration, largely offset by Sunday's great points haul, Ott Tänak was able to move up one position in the championship. From now on, the pilot Hyundai is third in the drivers' standings, ahead of Adrien fourmaux... but still a good distance from his teammate Thierry Neuville, still leader with 31 points ahead of the Estonian. Nevertheless, the result acquired in Portugal gives some optimism to the 36-year-old driver. A confidence rediscovered at the right time, while the gravel rallies will continue until October.

“We're not far from being in a position where I feel confident controlling the car, but it's still a little difficult to get the car to suit my driving style. I'm looking forward to Sardinia, it's a rally I usually enjoy and I hope to take another step forward in my performance. »

ALSO READ > INFOGRAPHICS – Sébastien Ogier’s 60 WRC victories under the microscope

Dorian Grangier

A young journalist nostalgic for the motorsport of yesteryear. Raised on the exploits of Sébastien Loeb and Fernando Alonso.

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