Tanak not expecting Neuville to move over to help WRC title bid

Hyundai’s Ott Tanak is not expecting team orders instructing Acropolis Rally leader Thierry Neuville to move aside to help his slim World Rally Championship hopes.

Tanak not expecting Neuville to move over to help WRC title bid
Listen to this article

Tanak heads into final day of the Greek gravel rally sitting 27.9s behind team-mate and rally leader Neuville following an eventful Saturday that shook up the leaderboard.

Neuville, Tanak and team-mate Dani Sordo started the day sitting fourth, fifth and sixth overall, but now lockout the podium places after drama struck the overnight top three of Sebastien Loeb, Pierre-Louis Loubet and Esapekka Lappi.

With Tanak mathematically the strongest candidate to catch runaway world championship leader Kalle Rovanpera, the topic of team orders has emerged given Hyundai’s strong position with three stages remaining.

The call for team orders has been strengthen by the fact Rovanpera is highly unlikely to finish in the points paying positions, sitting almost 17 minutes adrift of Neuville, after losing time to a collision with a tree. A maximum of five points from the rally ending powerstage is the Finn’s best hope of adding to his tally.

Should Tanak take the victory and Rovanpera miss out on powerstage points, the 2019 champion could reduce Rovanpera’s championship lead from 72 to 47 points with 90 points available from the final three rounds.

Asked if he expected Neuville to move over on Sunday, Tanak said: “I don’t think so, I think it is bit too much to ask.”

Neuville, yet to win a rally this year, offered a similar response when asked if he would be expected to give up time to Tanak: “No, not all to be honest. I think the target for the team is to bring the three cars home on the podium. If we get that I think there will be a big party.”

Ott Tanak, Martin Jarveoja, Hyundai World Rally Team Hyundai i20 N Rally1

Ott Tanak, Martin Jarveoja, Hyundai World Rally Team Hyundai i20 N Rally1

Photo by: McKlein / Motorsport Images

Hyundai’s deputy team director Julien Moncet reiterated that ensuring his drivers bring home a 1-2-3 was the priority, but didn’t deny that team orders would be deployed.

“My only issue is to secure the 1-2-3 position on the road tomorrow for the rest we will see,” said Moncet.

Moncet did reveal his team faced a tough afternoon battling overheating issues on all three i20 Ns caused by the high ambient temperatures.

“It has been a tough day for everybody, we have seen a lot of dramas suffering from the roads and the temperatures,” he added.

“We had some concerns but we managed to sort them out with the support of the team.

“It has been a tough day for us and we have been a bit nervous especially this afternoon when we saw all the alarms on the cars, but here we are 1-2-3. We are looking forward to tomorrow.”

Rovanpera not confident in salvaging powerstage points

Championship favourite Rovanpera has downplayed the prospect of salvaging powerstage points following an out of sorts performance on the tough Greek gravels stages.

The Toyota driver and five-time rally winner this season has struggled to match the outright pace this weekend.

Rovanpera was hampered by opening the roads on Friday which left the 21-year-old more than a minute adrift in ninth. But any hope of salvaging a finish in the championship points paying positions was dashed by an error on Stage 9 on Saturday.

Looking ahead to Sunday, Rovanpera isn’t confident he has the pace to challenge on the rally ending powerstage.

“We had nothing to fight for so we just drove through the stage,” said Rovanpera.

“Of course we will try to do what we can [on the powerstage], but I think we are lacking so much pace at the moment that it is not possible to do much there.”

Read Also:
shares
comments

Related video

WRC Acropolis Rally: Neuville heads Hyundai 1-2-3 after Lappi retirement
Previous article

WRC Acropolis Rally: Neuville heads Hyundai 1-2-3 after Lappi retirement

Next article

M-Sport focus on NZ prep after “deflating” WRC Acropolis Rally

M-Sport focus on NZ prep after “deflating” WRC Acropolis Rally
How trailblazer Kalle Rovanpera has ripped up the WRC record book Prime

How trailblazer Kalle Rovanpera has ripped up the WRC record book

At the tender age of 22, Kalle Rovanpera is redefining what’s possible to achieve in rallying and inspiring a new legion of fans as a result. The newly-crowned World Rally Championship title-winner and his peers reflect on his ability and the start of his success in the top tier.

WRC
Nov 26, 2022
How Hyundai and Neuville gatecrashed Toyota's homecoming party Prime

How Hyundai and Neuville gatecrashed Toyota's homecoming party

Thierry Neuville signed off the 2022 World Rally Championship season with his second win of the season in Japan after Toyota rival Elfyn Evans suffered a late puncture. With Sebastien Ogier and Kalle Rovanpera also delayed by punctures and incidents, it opened the door for Neuville and Ott Tanak to record Hyundai's second 1-2 of the season in Toyota's own backyard

WRC
Nov 14, 2022
The message a WRC stalwart sent which its new king couldn’t answer Prime

The message a WRC stalwart sent which its new king couldn’t answer

Sebastien Ogier might be the outgoing World Rally champion, but it didn’t stop him reminding everyone of the skills that made him an eight-time world champion. As victory at Rally Spain led Toyota’s charge to a titles clean sweep, it did pose a question to newly-crowned champion Kalle Rovanpera which he could not answer

WRC
Oct 24, 2022
Motorsport.com gets to grips as a WRC co-driver Prime

Motorsport.com gets to grips as a WRC co-driver

The majority of headlines may focus on the exploits of drivers in the World Rally Championship, but the challenges facing their co-drivers is no less demanding. We got in the passenger seat with Toyota Gazoo Racing to find out just what it takes to succeed

WRC
Oct 6, 2022
How Rally New Zealand encapsulated record-breaking Rovanpera’s WRC title charge Prime

How Rally New Zealand encapsulated record-breaking Rovanpera’s WRC title charge

Kalle Rovanpera’s coronation as the new World Rally Championship king had been a long time coming, only to be postponed by hiccups in Belgium and Greece. But at Rally New Zealand the “Full Send” Finn demonstrated exactly how he's been able to rewrite the rallying record book as he stormed to victory to become the youngest ever world champion

WRC
Oct 3, 2022
How team orders could make Hyundai's historic Acropolis Rally a Greek tragedy Prime

How team orders could make Hyundai's historic Acropolis Rally a Greek tragedy

Thierry Neuville led a maiden Hyundai 1-2-3 in the World Rally Championship, as the previously soft i20 N became a battle-hardened Greek warrior at the Acropolis Rally. But with team orders in play between the winner and Hyundai’s title protagonist Ott Tanak, could the result come back to haunt the team?

WRC
Sep 12, 2022
How Tanak triumphed amid a series of Belgium WRC blunders Prime

How Tanak triumphed amid a series of Belgium WRC blunders

After runaway World Rally Championship leader Kalle Rovanpera made his first major mistake of the season, the chance to take advantage was wide open for the chasing pack. Several of his rivals faltered to grasp the opportunity, but Ott Tanak made no such mistake and demonstrated his class with a third win of the campaign

WRC
Aug 22, 2022
Inside Toyota’s new WRC dream factory where rally conquerers come to life Prime

Inside Toyota’s new WRC dream factory where rally conquerers come to life

Toyota locked out the top four places in the World Rally Championship's recent Safari Rally Kenya in a clear indication of its GR Yaris Rally1 hybrid's pace and durability. Motorsport.com was recently given a tour of the new factory where its cars are designed, tested and built, and it reveals much about the commitment of the Japanese marque to continued WRC success.

WRC
Aug 19, 2022