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Ott Tänak finishes fourth for Hyundai in Monte Carlo

Ott Tänak at Rally Monte Carlo.
Ott Tänak at Rally Monte Carlo. Source: Hyundai Motorsport

Estonian Rally driver Ott Tänak finished fourth in the season-opening Monte Carlo rally, his first after rejoining Hyundai for the 2024 World Rally Championship (WRC) season.

The opening race of the season, on asphalt roads in mountainous terrain, saw the Estonian dominate an initial test run, winning all three outings, but once the event proper got underway, Tänak started to suffer with mechanical issues on the Hyundai i20, and battled with a patch of black ice in stage three among other challenges.

By the end of day one, Thursday, he was in fourth place, the position he finished in at the race culmination three days later.

Tänak's teammate, Thierry Neuville (Belgium), won the race and took the maximum 30 points.

Tänak's tally of 15 points, under a new WRC point-awarding system which has met with pushback, comprised 10 points accrued on the Saturday, plus five from Sunday (including a point from the final power stage).

Post-race, Tänak said: "We have to accept fourth place. This wasn't an easy race, but we learned a lot. We weren't in the best shape, but now things are done and we'll see what the future brings."

Neuville became leader from Saturday and held on to the lead through to race end, followed by veteran driver and eight-time world champion Sebastien Ogier (France, Toyota), 16.1 seconds behind.

The Monte Carlo rally's earlier leader, Elfyn Evans (Wales, Toyota) was 45.2 seconds behind Ogier in third place; Tänak was just under two minutes behind his teammate Neuville.

Adrien Fourmaux (France, M-Sport), Andreas Mikkelsen (Norway, Hyundai) and Takamoto Katsuta (Japan, Toyota) were the next-placed finishers.

Reigning world champion Kalle Rovanperä (Finland, Toyota) sat out the Monte Carlo rally and is only racing part-time this season, though he will be in action at the next race on February 15, in Rally Sweden.

That event was one of two which Ott Tänak and co-driver Martin Järveoja won in 2023, with M-Sport Ford.

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Editor: Andrew Whyte

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