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GP Week : Issue 152
TANAK UNDER PRESSURE Notwithstanding his eventual top 10 position in Rally Argentina, 24 year-old Ott Tanak is under pressure from M-Sport who are displeased with his career progress, following a series of Day 1 problems in that event. M-Sport’s protégé, who comes from the Estonian island of Saaremaa, was introduced to the company by Ford’s former works driver, fellow countryman Markko Martin. This year Ott has a season of Fiesta World Rally Car drives as part of the official M-Sport WRC team, with Evgeniy Novikov as the second driver. Tanak has come to the WRC with the enthusiastic support of fans from a country in which international sporting success is unusual. In his column in the national Autoleht magazine, Ott tells of the extra pressures created when he was ordered by the team before Rally Argentina to finish the tricky event at all costs. He found it difficult to adjust personally to this situation: “It was too much pressure and too much over-thinking which led to my problems” ,he explained. Thoughts in Estonia are now turning towards Tanak’s co-driver, considering the recent improvements in performances from Tank’s teammate Novikov after he moved to Denis Giraudet and also when Martin changed co-drivers in 2000. ARGENTINIAN NOTES n The late retirement of Dani Sordo from a comfortable third place on Rally Argentina allowed Ott Tanak to rise to 10th overall, meaning that half of the top 10 drivers classified at the end of the event were running under Rally 2 (‘Super Rally’) rules. Under traditional rally concepts, they would not have been classified as finishers at all! n Ford’s final stage curse! Bjorn Waldegard was unexpectedly denied victory at Monte Carlo 1979, Francois Delecour dropped from first to third at Monte Carlo in 1991, now Dani Sordo retired, losing his podium position in Argentina 2012. Sordo’s last-stage retirement has been traced to faults in the alternator itself. The team report that the offending unit has been sent away for analysis. n Citroen claimed that Hivonen’s now-confirmed second exclusion (following the discovery of non-homogolated clutch system parts) for Mikko from Portugal would send shivers through the Service Park. They said the 'creeping' dimensions of their controlled supply turbine would surely soon affect other teams, unless they used new brand turbos on every event or unless the FIA gave homologation dimension tolerance. Ford did not agree. As the issue did not involve Ford, the team did not want to comment but M-Sport Technical Director Christian Loriaux said: “We were not, and are not, worried.” Elsewhere in the PSA manufacturing group, Peugeot faced the FIA because of inconsistencies in the homologation of the new wide-track Peugeot 207 S2000 used by second placed Paulo Andreucci at the Mille Miglia ERC rally. The homologated suspension on one side featured a washer (a metal distance piece), but not on the other. The piece on the side without the washer was used for measuring the weight of the unit, so when they weighed the other side it was heavier. The stewards did not issue any penalty on the personally innocent crew. n After protracted frustrations in trying to make the Go Fast sports and beverage company sponsorship happen for the M-Sport cars , the official Ford rally cars appeared with ‘Go Further’ slogans. There was no connection, or intended play on words. Go Further is a new Ford global brand slogan. 14 GPWEEK.com // PARTNERS: WRC >>> news