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WRC Rally Italy

Toyota: Tanak issue not something we've seen before

Toyota Gazoo Racing chief engineer Tom Fowler has confirmed a steering problem ruled Ott Tanak out of Rally Italy victory on Sunday.

Ott Tänak, Martin Järveoja, Toyota Gazoo Racing WRT Toyota Yaris WRC

The Estonian led the Sardinian event into the final stage and looked set to collect a fourth win of the season that would move him back to the front of the field in the championship race. Instead, he suffered a heart-breaking final-stage failure that left him fifth at the finish.

Tanak’s Yaris WRC wasn’t the first to suffer steering problems in Italy, with teammate Jari-Matti Latvala forced off the road on Friday when his steering locked solid.

Fowler suspects the two incidents are related.

He told Motorsport.com: “It Looks like Jari-Matti and Ott have had the same issue. It’s not something we have seen before.

“All we know is that the components that came to this rally were all from the same group and all sealed here together. So we’ve had something happen in that batch that doesn’t seem to be correct.”

Fowler and his team will investigate the steering problem as soon as the car arrives back in Estonia.

“We’ve got [to look at] the complete system,” he said, “so it’s hard to know what it could be – we will go away and investigate, but today’s it’s difficult to say what it is. We need to check everything, but the feedback from the driver is the same.”

Fowler added that he didn’t think it was heat related – despite some of the hottest conditions in recent years.

“We’ve run in conditions as hot and demanding as this before,” he said. “From the timing, it looks like a batch-related thing. The parts are brought in as an assembly and put into the car.”

Tanak’s demise meant a second WRC win for Hyundai’s Dani Sordo.

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