The World Rally Championship (WRC) 2019 winner Ott Tanak will lead Hyundai Motorsport team at the forthcoming Safari Rally to be staged in Naivasha on June 24-27.
Last weekend, the Estonian retired from the lead at Rally Italia Sardegna after swiping a rock in Saturday morning’s final speed test.
He had dominated this fifth round of the FIA World Rally Championship since Friday morning’s start and entered the second pass of the Lerno – Monti di Ala’ test with a comfortable 40.6sec advantage over main competitor and Frenchman Sébastien Ogier.
“There is nothing much to look at anymore,” he said. “Obviously it’s nothing you can change yourself, so for us it’s pretty much like, race-by-race and everywhere we go we try the maximum. I guess end of the year we see if that was enough or not.” he said.
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He is determined to follow a different strategy for the remainder of the FIA World Rally Championship season especially during Kenyan leg where he will compete during his first ever race on African soil.
The 33 year old lies 57 points adrift of championship leader Sébastien Ogier with seven of the 12 rounds remaining and he is hopeful not encountering further disappointments like last month when shattered suspension forced him out of Vodafone Rally de Portugal while heading for victory.
While foraging for glory at Rift Valley, the focused speedster’s pace notes will be called out by compatriot Martin Jarveoja in their first attempt to conquer Africa.
Tanak and Jarveoja have already made their intentions known after joining the star-studded Hyundai mix last year.
They enjoyed a successful season, achieving four podium finishes in seven races, including victory at their home event, Rally Estonia.
“My pre-stage ritual is to make sure I have done all the things that are up to me so that the result is as good as possible,” Tanak said on the Hyundai website.
58 rally drivers, 34 Kenyan and 24 international racers, will take part in this year’s Safari Rally in the East African nation later this month as the event makes its return to the World Rally Championship (WRC) calendar for the first time in close to two decades.
Local entry will be headlined by 5 time Safari Rally champion Carl Tundo. The other Kenyan drivers are Baldev Chager (Mitsubishi Lancer Evo), Eric Bengi (Mitsubishi Lancer Evo), Jasmeet Chana (Mitsubishi Lancer Evo X) among others.
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