Tanak: The championship competition is starting to get more serious now

Ott Tanak is being of the opinion that the title fight is getting more serious now where the championship is heading to the gravel season and hopes to reduce his gap from his fastest rivals in Portugal.

The Estonian is among the drivers who are fighting for this year's WRC title as the top five are separating only for 11 points before the start of next week's Rally de Portugal. So far in 2023, he has claimed his first victory with the Ford Puma Rally1 in Sweden three months ago while he finished second overall in Croatia. However, he struggled to find pace with his new car in Monte Carlo and was not able to set a fastest time in the stages, but he managed to finish fifth overall on his first outing with the Puma. Finally, the most difficult rally for him so far was Rally Mexico as he faced a turbo issue on the opening stage of Friday which led him to drop behind the Rally1 drivers, but eventually he managed to get back to top ten and scored six points totally (two points from ninth place + four points for being the second fastest driver in Powerstage). After the end of the fourth WRC round, Tanak is in fourth place overall on the championship standings with 65 points, just four points behind the leaders Sebastien Ogier and Elfyn Evans.

"We are going now into gravel season where things are starting to get more serious in terms of championship competition", Tanak said. 

"After our pre-event test we are still a bit behind in a few places, but guys are working hard to find ways for improvements and we still have shakedown to test the final details.

 "We did see in Mexico that our competitors are strong on gravel and we have some areas where we need to improve over the next few races. 

"Portugal is generally a fast event with quite a sandy surface. 

"Some of the second loops of stages can be very rough and demanding. 

"We are looking to reduce our gap to the fastest guys and let’s give it a go to stay in the championship fight!"

Photo Credits: M-Sport

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