Ott Tanak braces for 'rough and rutted' challenges at high-speed Rally Portugal

Ott Tanak braces for 'rough and rutted' challenges at high-speed Rally Portugal

Festus Chuma 13:14 - 06.05.2024

Ott Tanak is preparing for the challenging and varied conditions of Rally Portugal aiming to navigate its high-speed and rugged terrains.

Rally Portugal is gearing up to deliver a thrilling chapter in the World Rally Championship (WRC) season promising high-speed action on its legendary gravel tracks. 

As the race shifts back to Europe  drivers are set to face a unique blend of challenges across the Portuguese terrain. 

Notably Estonian driver Ott Tanak who clinched his first Rally Portugal victory four years ago returns with a determination to dominate amidst the event's notorious conditions.

Organizers have increased the total number of stages although this expansion comes at the cost of eliminating single-run stages, including the Vieira do Minho. 

However, fan favorites like Arganil, Amarante, Lousada, and Fafe remain, ensuring that the rally retains its classic allure.

In a recent conversation with the Hyundai portal, Tanak shared his anticipation and strategy for the upcoming event.

 "After Croatia, it’s great to go back to a rougher surface. Portugal is really enjoyable—it’s an event I am looking forward to. It’s a fast rally with high speeds and usually smooth on the first run and very rough on the second," Tanak explained. 

Tanak's previous experience in Portugal gives him a tactical advantage, but he remains cautious acknowledging the demanding nature of the rally.

 "During this part of the season, it starts to get warmer, and Portugal is one of the first rallies where it can get quite challenging for the car and the tyres," he noted.

The contrast in track conditions between the first and second loops, according to Tanak will be a critical factor in the race's outcome.

The rally kicks off with a Shakedown on Thursday morning, followed by the first stage in Figueira da Foz, covering a modest distance of 2.94km. 

However, the true test begins on Friday, with drivers navigating through eight challenging stages spanning 126.90km. 

Saturday will push competitors to their limits with nine stages totaling 145.02km making it the longest day of the event.

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