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Saturday, December 2, 2023

Engine change dashes Tanak’s WRC Estonia victory hopes

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Tanak reported an engine difficulty along with his Ford Puma after clocking the quickest time within the first move of Thursday morning’s 4.08km shakedown stage.

The 2019 world champion was pressured to be towed again to the service park, the place his M-Sport workforce may examine the issue.

M-Sport declared the difficulty to be “pretty important”, which prompted the British squad to alter his engine.

Groups are in a position to change engines beneath the WRC sporting rules however the set up of a brand new energy unit will incur a five-minute penalty, successfully ending Tanak’s hopes of difficult for victory at his dwelling spherical.

“We do not know precisely,” mentioned M-Sport workforce principal Richard Millener when requested to diagnose the difficulty.

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“What we do know is it’s pretty important engine difficulty, so we now have no possibility however to alter the engine – which we are able to do by regulation, however it can imply we are going to get a penalty earlier than we begin the rally.

“It’s a actually irritating starting to the rally and presumably the worst begin we are able to have, however that’s the state of affairs we discover ourselves in.

“It is going to be a time penalty and rules state that it is going to be 5 minutes, so that’s going to place us at a critical drawback.

Ott Tanak, M-Sport Ford World Rally Staff engine change

Photograph by: Tom Howard

“We’ve received to change focus and there may be nothing we are able to change about what has occurred. The main target must be on making an attempt to salvage as a lot as potential from the occasion, which will probably be very troublesome clearly.

“The largest disappointment is for Ott and for Martin [Jarveoja – co-driver], his workforce and I totally respect the state of affairs in being of their dwelling nation and the expectation and the assist from their dwelling followers. There’s nothing extra irritating about what’s going on, however we won’t do a lot about it.”

Millener revealed that it’s unlikely the workforce will have the ability to perform a radical investigation into the issue till later this 12 months as a result of rules.

“I’d say it has shocked us,” Millener added.

“All the pieces goes via its pre-event checks and every thing is completely checked. That was all handed and every thing labored within the UK, so we’re very shocked to see an issue very early on.

“However it’s a type of issues that we can’t have the ability to have a look at for a substantial time because the engines are sealed for successfully the season. It’s a robust one to swallow.”

Tanak is predicted to line up for this night’s opening stage, which begins at 0805 BST.

Toyota driver and championship chief Kalle Rovanpera set the tempo in shakedown by clocking a time in his fourth run that was 1.2s quicker than Hyundai’s Thierry Neuville. Hyundai team-mate Esapekka Lappi was third, an extra 0.5s behind.

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