Estonia's Ott Tänak finished second in this weekend's Rally Croatia. Wales' Elfyn Evans (Toyota) took first place, exactly 27 seconds ahead of the Estonian, with Esapekka Lappi of Finland (Hyundai) in third. Throughout the weekend, participants paid tribute to Irish WRC driver Craig Breen, who tragically lost his life following a crash in pre-testing.
After stage 14 on Saturday, Tänak was just 12.5 seconds behind leader Elfyn Evans. However, after struggling with handbrake issues in stage 15, the Estonian was unable to make up any more ground that evening.
Unable to regain the momentum on Sunday, Tänak finished as runner-up in Croatia for the second year running.
"The car has speed, you can see it in the times, but it seems that the car only works well over a short time window and I've had a hard time so far figuring out exactly where the sweet spot is," Tänak said in an M-Sport press release.
"The team has worked really hard so far and I've managed to keep up with the competition, but we have to keep working to be part of this exciting title fight," Tänak said.
Tänak currently sits in fourth place in the overall leaderboard on 65 points. France's Sebastien Ogier leads the way with 69.
"I'm happy to be just four points behind [the leader] in the overall standings and second place this weekend with two test runs is still a very good result," he added. "Next week (this week – ed.) we will test for Rally de Portugal and- so I will now focus on being as ready as possible for the next rally," said Tänak.
Rally de Portugal takes place from May 11-14.
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Rally Croatia was however, overshadowed by the death of Irish driver Craig Breen, who died after a crash during pre-testing on April 14.
"We all raced for you Craig this weekend. You will be missed and remembered forever," Tänak, who was Breen's teammate at Hyundai from 2020-2021, wrote on social media after the race.
Editor: Michael Cole