“Through no fault of our own, we’re always the last ones to bring everything together,” says Millener, whose team announced Tänak and young ace Pierre-Loubet Loubet for 2023 at the 11th hour.
“We often have to go down to the wire to get drivers, sponsors, partners all lined up for the following year.
“We’re a bit different to the other manufacturers [Toyota and Hyundai] who are able to make a little bit more of a longer-term plan – but we’re used to it. I think the guys and the girls involved are really motivated for this year, I think it’s an incredibly strong line-up.”
The man leading the line is Tänak, whose record speaks for itself. The 2019 champion has 17 event wins and has developed from world rally wild child to someone who can grind out a result on any occasion.
“Ott’s a different character now”
Last season, in which the Estonian still managed to take a highly problematic Hyundai i20 to three rally wins and second in the championship, is the perfect demonstration of this.
Millener describes what’s been like witnessing his development across three stints at the team, as well as the tangible effect his arrival has had on the Cockermouth team.
“I was there when he first arrived at M-Sport [in 2012], we started our careers together and have known each other a long time,” says Millener. “It’s different now, he’s matured, he’s a different character. Ott’s strong in the mind and knows what he wants.