Ott Tanak – 10/10
Result Italy: 1st
It is very difficult to overstate how important this victory is for Tänak and Hyundai.
Remarkably, it had been more than 15 months since the invincible Tänak had been on the top step of the podium before last Sunday. There is no doubt that the long wait to taste the victory champagne again was beginning to attract the sublime 2019 world champion.
But my God, it was a win with style, class and smarts all over the place.
Do you remember the end-of-rally interview that Tänak gave a few weeks ago in Portugal? The one where, when asked what needs to change with the Hyundai, Tänak’s one-word answer was “everything.”
In fact, very little has changed on Tänak’s Hyundai between Portugal and Italy. It is a measure of the supreme quality of his victory.
You would have great chances on two things: Tänak winning the rally, first of all. But also on its still underperforming – and, let’s face it, shaky – Hyundai performance as it weathered the toughest day in the championship so far on Saturday.
They did, with perhaps the most impressive pace and performance of the year.
Hyundai perhaps needed this victory even more than Tänak. Don’t get me wrong, the i20 is still a long way behind the Ford Puma and the Toyota GR Yaris, but Tanak gave the team hope and renewed confidence.