Tanak wishes to end Hyundai WRC partnership on a high

Ott Tanak says he hopes to end his three-year association with Hyundai Motorsport on a high at this week’s World Rally Championship season finale in Japan.

Winners Ott Tanak, Martin Jarveoja, Hyundai World Rally Team Hyundai i20 N Rally1

The 2019 world champion is set to contest his last rally with the South Korean marque after announcing plans to exercise a clause in his deal to end his contract a year early.

Tanak is yet to comment further on his future plans after stating in an announcement shortly after Rally Spain that he feels “the need to embark on a new challenge”.

The Estonian has been linked with moves to M-Sport and Toyota, while a sabbatical is also not out of the question. His seat at Hyundai appears set to be filled by Toyota driver Esapekka Lappi, which will create a vacancy at the Japanese brand for 2023.

Looking ahead to his final outing with Hyundai on Japan’s all-new asphalt stages, the 35-year-old hopes to end his tenure with Hyundai on a positive note.

After winning the 2019 world title, Tanak left Toyota to joined Hyundai where he has since scored five wins, with three of those arriving this season.

“Rally Japan is going to be a challenging one for us because it’s a new event, so I personally don’t have too much information on what to expect, but we will gather all the info we have available with the recce and prepare for it as much as possible,” said Tanak.

“After three years with Hyundai Motorsport, this is going to be my last one with them, so I hope that we can find a good feeling on the roads and finish the season and our partnership on a high note.”

Ott Tanak, Martin Jarveoja, Hyundai World Rally Team Hyundai i20 N Rally1

Ott Tanak, Martin Jarveoja, Hyundai World Rally Team Hyundai i20 N Rally1

Photo by: Austral / Hyundai Motorsport

Hyundai is not expected to formally announce its 2023 driver line-up until after Rally Japan.

It is understood the team still has a seat to fill in its third i20 N after electing not to renew its contract with Oliver Solberg, who partnered Dani Sordo this year.

Reports from Spain have indicated that the experienced Sordo is in line to continue his role sharing the third car.

Finland’s Teemu Suninen tested the i20 N Rally1 for the first time in Finland last week and remains hopeful of seeking a seat, while WRC2 champion Andreas Mikkelsen, former Citroen and Toyota driver Kris Meeke and M-Sport’s Craig Breen remain linked to the vacancy.

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