The new World Rally Championship (WRC) season will take off in Monte Carlo at 3.08 p.m. Estonian time on Thursday. Estonian driver Ott Tänak (Hyundai) said his goal is to capture the season title and that last year's complications have only made his team better.
"Our approach is always to get the maximum out of ourselves and the car. It is simpler this year, because we have experience with the car. I hope we are looking at a longer and more traditional season to be able to seriously return to competition. It was not easy to find a rhythm last year - a lot was going on and rounds were often canceled and replaced," Tänak said via a Hyundai press release.
"Regardless, I am pleased with how well we cooperated with the team during tough times and I believe it makes us stronger for the coming season. Our goal is the world title and we need to get high points from all rounds," Tänak added.
"Monte is always a challenge, perhaps the biggest one of the season. It's the first event of the year and you're always a bit more anxious, nervous, and unsure of what to expect. The weather is always changeable so it's a place where you can expect to see everything at the same time, as it was in our first rally of 2020; you need to get a feeling for the year ahead," Tänak previewed the season opener round.
The 2019 world champ Estonian pair of Ott Tänak - Martin Järveoja know the roads of Monte Carlo all too well, having been through a horrible crash there just last year. Tänak, however shrugged off the dramatic crash, which put him on the back foot for his title defense, according to portal DirtFish.
"Last year was a long time ago already," Tänak told DirtFish. "It's not my first crash and it probably won't be the last one, but it won't have any effect on this year. The route for Monte is quite different with some new stages, so we shouldn't miss the experience from driving the stages last year."
Tänak did not repeat his world title from the previous season last year, but finished third overall after jumping fellow Hyundai driver Thierry Neuville in the final round of the season. The WRC series also came through Estonia last season, as WRC Rally Estonia became a WRC event. The Estonian pair dominated the rally, taking certain victory on their homely roads. Rally Estonia has now been made a full-time WRC event with rounds planned until at least 2022.
Sebastien Ogier (Toyota) became seven-time world champ, taking the season win over Welshman Elfyn Evans, who went off the road and lost his first place heading into the final round of the season.
Full schedule for WRC Monte Carlo:
Thursday, January 21:
SS1 Saint-Disdier - Corps (20,58 km) 3.08 p.m.
SS2 Saint-Maurice - Saint-Bonnet (20,78 km) 4.06 p.m.
Friday, January 22:
SS3 Aspremont - La Batie-des-Fonts 1 (19,61 km) 7.10 a.m.
SS4 Chalancon - Gumiane 1 (21,62 km) 8.28 a.m.
SS5 Montauban-sur-l'Ouveze - Villebois-les-Pins 1 (22,24 km) 10.01 a.m.
SS6 Aspremont - La Batie-des-Fonts 2 (19,61 km) 1.17 p.m.
SS7 Chalancon - Gumiane 2 (21,62 km) 2.38 p.m.
Saturday, January 23:
SS9 La Breole - Selonnet 1 (18,31 km) 7.30 a.m.
SS10 Saint-Clement - Freissinieres (20,48 km) 9.18 a.m.
SS11 La Breole - Selonnet 2 (18,31 km) 1.08 p.m.
Sunday, January 24:
SS12 Puget-Theniers - La Penne 1 (12,93 km) 9.30 a.m.
SS13 Brianconnet - Entrevaux 1 (14,31 km) 11.08 a.m.
SS14 Puget-Theniers - La Penne 2 (12,93 km) 11.45 a.m.
SS15 Brianconnet - Entrevaux 2 (punktikatse, 14,31 km) 1.18 p.m.
Editor: Kristjan Kallaste