The Estonian public has voted Ott Tänak's victory at Rally Catalunya, in late October, as sporting moment of the year.
The win, for Toyota, together with co-driver Martin Järveoja, secured the WRC 2019 title with one race to go in the season, the first time an Estonian has become world rally champion, and the first time the winner had come from outside France, following a 15-year-long domination of the sport by the two Sebastiens, Loeb and Ogier.
Tänak and Järveoja won seven races in 2019, in Sweden, Chile, Portugal, Finland, Germany and Wales, as well as in Spain, and led for most of the season; the pair had won sports moment of the year last year and the year before, in those cases just for race wins rather than wins which clinched the overall title.
Tänak took the title over Belgian Thierry Neuville (Hyundai), pushing for his own maiden title after Sebastien Ogier's (Citroen) challenge faded towards end of the season; Neuville and Tänak will in fact be team-mates at Hyundai next season, as the Estonian announced his departure from Toyota soon after clinching the championship, putting to bed weeks of media speculation.
Hyundai won the manufacturers' title at Rally Catalunya as well, though did not realize it at the time – the honor fell into their lap with the cancellation of the season-ending Rally Australia, due to large-scale forest fires in New South Wales.
A little under 4,400 voted in the poll, nearly half of those for Tänak and Järveoja, with Magnus Kirt's silver medal-winning throw at the athletics world championships in Doha in late October, after which he had to be stretchered off with injury, taking second place, and decathlete Maicel Uibo winning silver at the same competition in third.
The original ERR sports piece is here.
Editor: Andrew Whyte