M-Sport Ford WRC driver Ott Tänak has won the Otepää talveralli today as he competed in the event in his home country in preparation for next week’s Rally Sweden.
Ott Tänak won the event in his home country by just under three minutes over his countryman Georg Linnamäe (Hyundai i20 N Rally2) who also be competing in Sweden next week.
“It was generally necessary to be here and do all the stages. We experienced so many different conditions [today], opening the road on the first and second pass. We were able to drive slow and fast, in narrow and wide [roads], Tänak said.
“It was actually a quite tough rally. In the beginning of the week, we had no snow and now we have a bit too much. So it was quite demanding.”
The 2023 testing rules limit the WRC teams to just 21 testing days this season with a maximum of 7 days per driver. As a result of the rule, WRC teams are looking at alternatives to get more testing kilometres.
Tänak was joined in Estonia by Jourdan Serderidis who was also competing with a Rally1 Puma. The Greek driver won’t be competing in Sweden however.
M-Sport wasn’t the only team fielding Rally1 cars at national events today. Hyundai and Toyota were both competing in the Kuopio Rally, the second round of the Finnish Rally Championship. Hyundai entered Esapekka Lappi while Toyota entered Takamoto Katsuta.
Lappi led the rally at the halfway point with 12.9 seconds over Katsuta and extended his lead to over half a minute after Katsuta went off in a snowbank and dropped time. Eventually, Katsuta had to retire after SS5 due to radiator problems as a result of his SS5 mistake.
All was going well for Lappi as he won every stage of the event before going off into a snowbank in the penultimate stage. The Finn dropped 11 minutes in the stage and plummed down in the overall standings. The Hyundai driver went on to win the final stage but the overall win went to Jari Huttunen (Fabia R5) by 2.1 seconds over Juha Salo (Fabia Rally2 Evo).