My first rally car: Ott Tänak

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Ott Tänak’s Volkswagen Golf was a car of many colours.

It started all-white, but ended up famously yellow – a colour taken up by the legions of fans who followed him around Estonia in aptly coloured T-shirts.

But the Golf didn’t come first. First came the Scirocco. Tänak doesn’t remember either car particularly fondly.

“The Scirocco wasn’t the first car I did a rally in,” recalled the defending world champion. “I was doing rallycross events with that.”

And he started on his home Estonian island of Saaremaa. Once he turned 14, the stages beckoned. As did the Golf.

“The chassis was good [on the Golf],” said Tänak, “but it wasn’t always easy to put it in the right place. And it didn’t have such good reliability. I did Estonian Championship events in it early and it was good for starting out in the sport.”

What about success in the Golf?

“I don’t really remember any,” smiled Tänak. “I think I retired from more or less every event. The materials were not so good on that car or maybe I wasn’t such a good mechanic.

“I started using the Renault Clio a few years later and then the results got better and once we got into four-wheel drive Group N cars… well, maybe you know this story a little bit after that.”

The Golf delivered Junior class wins, but the Clio brought the two-wheel drive success that helped elevate Tänak to the world stage.

But the journey started to that stage in Golf 440 APA.


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