Ott Tanak’s hopes of winning the home event may have vanished but he is not ready to let frustration get in his way after he set the pace at the opening stage of rally Estonia in Tartu on Thursday.
The Estonian was given a five minutes penalty following an engine change on his M-sport Ford after shakedown.
Tanak was quickest through 3.35km Tartu Vald stage edging Toyota Gazoo’s Elfyn Evans and Hyundai m’s Esapekka Lappi by 0.6seconds.
“Nothing much to say. The more I have to go through is the more it hurts. It is getting more and more painful.
“Our chances for the championship were quite tight considering our performances this year and we were working hard for these next two rallies. This was a proper kick in the balls,” said Tanak.
Evans and Lappi now have a joint lead heading into the second leg while Tanak is down in 16tg overall.
Championship leader Kalle Rovanpera closely follows the front pack with 0.1seconds.
Thierry Neuville comes forth followed by Takamotoka Katsuta.
Leg two of the event will be the longest day of the event with 133.38km of thrilling action.