While NASCAR spent the weekend fighting the rain in Daytona Beach, across the pond in Finland some of the world’s best rally drivers were sending their machines through corners on snow.
With the Arctic Rally Finland coming up shortly, the Otepää Winter Rally was held on Saturday as a tune-up event for any competitors willing to give the race a go. Participants conquered 52.5 miles of roads covered in snow throughout the course.
Those competing all spent their time chasing the speed of Ott Tanak. The Hyundai Motorsports ace won all eight stages of the event, beating teammate Thierry Neuville by 33.4 seconds at the end to take the overall victory. It was Tanak’s fifth rally win with Hyundai since he joined the group at the beginning of 2020, with all of them coming in his home country.
“It was a very demanding day,” Tänak said of his run to victory. “All day we had some very snowy conditions, and I would say compared to what we did see during the Lapland test, actually in places the conditions were very similar. Some narrow and fast roads, and some bumpy and twisty sections.”
The Arctic Rally Finland will arrive in two weeks on Feb. 26-28, with 13 World Rally Cars among a 56-car entry list for the second round of the FIA World Rally Championship season.
Despite his pace in the tune-up event, Tanak downplayed his odds to win in two weeks.
“We now have these final two weeks to get prepared for the next round and make sure everything is good for the rally because we know we will have some very hard competition from Toyota in Lapland,” Tanak said. “It will be more than demanding. A big job is still waiting ahead before we arrive at Lapland.”
(Source(s): Elliot Wood / DirtFish, Motorsport)