Estonian rally driver Ott Tänak and his copilot, Martin Järveoja, on 6 September won the inaugural full-calendar WRC event, Rally Estonia, held in the southern parts of the country.
Tänak and Järveoja took an early lead the day earlier and rallied to the victory on 6 September with a time of 1:59:53.6. Tänak’s teammate, a fellow Hyundai driver Craig Breen and his copilot, Paul Nagle, finished second, 22.2 seconds behind. The leader of the WRC season, Sebastian Ogier, and his copilot, Julien Ingrassia, of Toyota, finished third.
This was the first Rally Estonia that was officially part of the WRC series.
Tänak is now in the third place in the drivers’ leaderboard for 2020 with 66 points, behind Ogier (70) and Elfyn Evans of Toyota (66).
Tänak’s first win with Hyundai
For Tänak, the victory at Rally Estonia was his 13th win and his first with Hyundai. “The first WRC event in Estonia was one that I had to win, while also knowing it would be my first with Hyundai Motorsport. It was extremely important to bring it home,” Tänak wrote on his Facebook page after the win.
“I’m happy about my first victory with Hyundai. The team worked very hard, I was just sitting on the couch at home,” Tänak said after the rally, according to news portal Delfi. “I feel great. We had previous knowledge from here. Even if you don’t know every stage, you feel the support of the people around you.”
Tänak achieved his maiden drivers’ world title in the 2019 World Rally Championship, making him the first Estonian to win the drivers’ championship, the first non-Frenchman to win the title since Petter Solberg in 2003 and the first for Toyota since Didier Auriol in 1994.
Rally Estonia the first WRC event since February
On 4 September, Estonia became the 33rd country in the world to host an FIA world rally championship event. The rally took place from 4-6 September with 17 stages through 233.4 kilometres (145 miles). Altogether 59 pairs of racers took part in the event.
Rally Estonia was the fourth event in the 2020 WRC calendar. It was the first WRC event since Rally Mexico, held in February, as the 2020 WRC season has been shortened because of the coronavirus pandemic.
Cover: Martin Järveoja (left) and Ott Tänak, after winning Rally Estonia. Photos courtesy of Ott Tänak Facebook page.