Rally Estonia reaction: Tough, but fun, say Tänak and Märtin

Ott Tänak.
Ott Tänak. Source: ERR

Ott Tänak, winner of Sunday's Rally Estonia, and veteran driver Markko Märtin, gave their reactions to Rally Estonia to ERR's online sports portal. Tänak won the race, with Märtin finishing sixth.

"All round it was a very positive weekend," Tänak said of his home rally, which started in earnest with Friday afternoon's qualifying, led by Tänak and co-driver Martin Järveoja in the Toyota Yaris. He never really looked back through to the climax Sunday, by which time he had an over one-minute lead over second-placed man, Norwegian Andreas Mikkelsen (Hyundai).

"Since (former rally driver-ed.) Urmo Aavo put together such a great event with great emotions, we naturally had to give our all. There was a lot of background work needed to prepare for (the next WRC rally-ed.) Finland, this competition was also vital, and of course we wanted to coast to victory," the 31-year-old native of Saaremaa, who leads the WRC drivers table at present, added.

"The roads are very cool in themselves. The jumps were sometimes very devilish and maybe a bit overwhelming, but I believe that nature will do its work in the years to come, smooth things out a little, making them a little more natural. In the bigger picture I believe that the routes are tricky, so this is a cool way to drive for a win," he continued.

Rally Estonia took place across a swathe of land between Tartu and Otepää, in South Estonia, and included sections on the streets of Estonia's second city.

The jumps Tänak spoke of took fellow Estonian driver Georg Gross out of action on Saturday, with Markko Märtin lambasting them, though full of praise for the overall event.

On the likelihood of Rally Estonia becoming a full WRC event, planned for 2022, Tänak was more cautious.

"I think that there was no problem with today's organization, and getting into the WRC event up and running, but at the same time it's not quite for the people in the same way. The WRC series is perhaps bogged down in a few things and I believe that getting to the series is very complex. The event we have as it is today is already a very good thing for Estonia," he continued.

Markko Märtin finished sixth overall in his Ford Fiesta, with co-driver Kristo Kraag, and noted that even with his experience, such a high level event was no cakewalk.

Markko Märtin. Source: ERR

"It went fine for me," Märtin told ERR. "The goal was make it to the end on Sunday at the finish, in one piece. At the same time, it was even nice and fun to drive, but there were also tough moments; I wouldn't want to do it again any time soon!" he continued.

As to what was so hard about the race, Märtin responded it was simply the driving.

"If you haven't done it for such a long time as I hadn't, it's not such an easy task. Going from every day life back to a rally car and on such quick and technically complex roads - I knew it was going to be tough, but it was even harder than I expected," he said.

"There were loads of fans too, Ott fans, and just Estonian rally fans. We saw the numbers of people at the roadside, and there really were a lot this year. I hope it was enjoyable for them – the win stayed in Estonia, and maybe it was a bit of a historic moment to have me driving there too," was Märtin's message to the rally fans.

Ott Tänak is next in action in Rally Finland, a full WRC event on the weekend of Aug. 1-4.

Editor: Andrew Whyte

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