Ott Tänak believes the changeable nature of the conditions at Renties Ypres Rally Belgium (19 – 22 November) could open a window of opportunity for him in the defence of his WRC crown.
The late autumn date in Belgium, allied to the all-asphalt nature of the event, is expected to make second-guessing the conditions and optimum set-up as complicated as for the legendary Rallye Monte-Carlo.
Hyundai Motorsport driver Tänak tested an i20 for Ypres just across the border in France earlier this week and admitted the roads were as challenging as he’d imagined.
“It will be a tricky event,” said the Estonian, “but the conditions in Ypres can maybe give the chance to gamble and if we can do this then we need to make a chance for ourselves. We definitely have nothing to lose.”
Tänak trails championship leader Elfyn Evans by 28 points after a disappointing sixth-place finish at Rally Italia Sardegna earlier this month when suspension problems cost valuable time in the opening leg.
“The set-up for the car will be quite similar to Germany. From the test, I have quite a good feeling from the car. Will it be enough? We have to wait and see what the rest of the guys have,” he added.
Hyundai’s week of testing has been marked by changeable weather, with plenty of rain in the Flanders area around Ypres. It’s those sort of conditions that will make tyre choice for each loop of stages difficult, just like on the season opener in the French Alps.
Teams will be forced to compromise set-up and tyre selection, adding a crucial tactical and strategic element to the WRC’s penultimate round.