The Toyota Gazoo driver led Copec Rally Chile for all but Friday morning’s opening test and a measured 23.1sec victory propelled the Estonian up to second in the FIA World Rally Championship standings.

A barren points return from his previous two outings in Corsica and Argentina wiped out his early-season advantage, but success in tricky conditions in Chile’s inaugural WRC appearance has restored his self-belief. 

“I feel relieved. It has been a tough weekend. Immediately when we did the recce we saw that the conditions were demanding with the roads. It has been difficult to be on the limit, although we have not been going too much over the limit,” said the Yaris driver.

Tänak returns to Europe with maximum points in his pocket after also winning the rally-closing Wolf Power Stage. It left him 10 points behind new leader Sébastien Ogier as Thierry Neuville slipped to third after non-scoring.

“It was important to finish the rally this way. On the last couple of events, we have had mishaps and have lost a lot of points. It was important to score this result.

“If you don’t achieve anything it takes your emotions down. Now we are on the right track and we will keep pushing,” he added.