Ott Tänak in joint third place after emotional Rally Croatia day one

Ott Tänak and Martin Järveoja in action in Croatia.
Ott Tänak and Martin Järveoja in action in Croatia. Source: M-Sport Media

Estonian rally driver Ott Tänak lay in joint third place at Rally Croatia after Thursday's initial test run.

The full event continues, as per WRC tradition, all-day Friday and Saturday, ending Sunday afternoon.

Reigning world champion Kalle Rovanperä (Finland, Toyota) set the fastest time at Thursday morning's 3.65km test outing, followed by Tänak (M-Sport Ford) and current series leader, eight-time world champion Sebastien Ogier (Toyota) in joint third place.

The event is, however, overshadowed by the tragic death of Irish WRC driver Craig Breen, after an accident at the same course last Thursday, April 14.

Tänak said after the test run that: "It's difficult, it's demanding, and its so hard for all of us; it's empty inside, and is eating us alive, so it's tough but, I promised to give a smile to Jackie," referring to Breen's mother. Tänak had spent time with the Breen family in the aftermath of the tragedy.

"She had so much positive energy when I was there last Sunday, and they are such lovely people."

"I was really happy to be there with them, and thankyou so much for that energy," Tänak continued.

Breen's 2023 teammate, Finn Esapekka Lappi, had also been deeply affected by the tragedy, but noted the car looked great decked out in the Irish tricolor, in memory of Craig, adding nonetheless it had been emotionally very tough.

The race continues Friday, and stage two is already underway at the time of writing.

Other Estonians taking part in Rally Croatia, in the lower tier WRC2 and Rally4 series, are Georg Linnmäe and Romet Jürgenson.


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Editor: Andrew Whyte, Henrik Laever, Andres Nõmm

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