M-Sport WRC team boss: Ott Tänak work ethic reminiscent of Sebastien Ogier
Rich Millener, manager of the M-Sport Ford World Rally Championship team, said new driver Ott Tänak's work ethic calls to mind French legend Sebastien Ogier, who won two of his eight WRC championships with the team.
Englishman Millener made his remarks in the wake of Tänak's superbly clinical victory in the Ford Puma in Sweden, where he took on, and beat, both of the works giants, Hyundai and Toyota.
The win, which the Estonian managed via consistency – he won only one stage, on the Friday, but was on the pace enough to retain the overall lead he got on the Saturday - was the first for M-Sport Ford in over a year; the team
This year, Tänak is again driving for the M-Sport team and already won his second rally, bringing the team first place in the World Rally Championship after a year's break.
Tänak and Ogier were teammates during the Estonian's first stint with the team, which was also the season Ogier won his second drivers' title with M-Sport Ford.
Ogier was world champion both seasons he drove for M-Sport; Tänak later joined Toyota, the team he and co-driver Martin Järveoja won their maiden title with, in 2019.
Following the exit of Citroen from the highest level of WRC racing, at the end of the same season, there were only three teams remaining, while Tänak went to the third of them, Hyundai, joining the, thus far, always-the-bridesmaid Belgian Thierry Neuville in the i20.
While he won five races over three years, including the coronavirus-shortened 2020 season, Tänak could be fairly said to have struggled at Hyundai, both on the track, with adapting to new hybrid regulations at the beginning of 2021, and with media rumors of personality clashes with other team members
Millener told rally portal DirtFish that he in any case sees similarities between the 2023 Ott, and Sebastien Ogier.
Ott did a fantastic job," Millener told DirtFish following the Sweden victory.
"He reminds me a little bit of when we had Ogier in the team. He'd work very, very hard to solve the problems he had, he'd solve them, and then he'd find some more," Millener went on.
"You're never going to run out of things to change. But the key is to find a balance in between and do everything you can to give the guys the tools they need."
The WRC season continues midway through next month, in Mexico.
Following the win in Sweden, Tänak leads the WRC table, three points ahead of reigning champion, Toyota man Kalle Rovanperä (Finland).
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Editor: Andrew Whyte