Tanak felt stuck as Ogier's number two at M-Sport

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Tanak felt stuck as Ogier's number two at M-Sport
By: David Evans
Jan 19, 2018, 8:46 AM

Ott Tanak says he needed to move to Toyota for the 2018 WRC season because he felt stuck as a number two behind Sebastien Ogier at M-Sport.

Ott Tänak, Martin Järveoja, Ford Fiesta WRC, M-Sport
Jari-Matti Latvala and Ott Tanak, Toyota Racing
Ott Tänak, Martin Järveoja, Toyota Yaris WRC Plus, Toyota Racing
Winners Thierry Neuville, Nicolas Gilsoul, Hyundai Motorsport, second place Ott Tänak, Martin Järveoja, M-Sport, third place Hayden Paddon, Sebastian Marshall, Hyundai Motorsport
Ott Tänak, Martin Järveoja, Toyota Yaris WRC Plus, Toyota Racing
Ott Tänak, Martin Järveoja, Ford Fiesta WRC, M-Sport
The Toyota WRC team, including Jari-Matti Lavala, Ott Tanak and Esapekka Lappi

Estonian Tanak left M-Sport at the end of 2017 after six seasons with the Ford squad, having finished third in the drivers' standings last year with two victories.

He admitted he was lured away by the Toyota's factory team's set-up, but added he thought there was an imbalance in the division of resources between him and his five-time champion teammate Ogier at M-Sport. 

“I was looking to have a good chance to fight for the championship and even in the first year, the Toyota guys did very well and there was a lot of potential to improve: that was one thing," Tanak told Motorsport.com.

"It was really good working with Sebastien and we had a very strong team, but sometimes the financial resources were limited and we lacked development on our car compared to Sebastien’s car.

"We were the second driver last year and for the future, so maybe it was not so nice or the best chance for the championship. This move to Toyota was what I needed to open my game.”

Tanak, who has a two-year deal with Toyota, has completed four days of testing ahead of the season-opening Monte Carlo Rally later this month and an additional two days of snow running for Rally Sweden.

He thinks Toyota's Yaris is competitive enough to challenge for victory on the first event, but said he would tread with some caution on his first start for his new employer.

“Definitely the cars are different,” he said when asked to compare the Ford Fiesta with the Yaris, “but I can’t find any negatives – both are good. The idea in the car is different and they behave in a different way.

"Definitely the Toyota is capable of winning in Monte Carlo, but it’s maybe not the smartest thing to go and push for the win there.

"I want to get the car in a good place and take some points then after Monte we have some rallies where we can push harder; Sweden suits me and the car.”

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About this article

Series WRC
Drivers Ott Tanak
Teams Toyota Racing
Author David Evans
Article type Breaking news