Ott Tänak has pulled out of the WRC season-closing Monza Rally, citing personal issues.
Hyundai Motorsport, Tänak's team, tweeted Tuesday that: "We have a last-minute change in our crew line-up for ACI Rally Monza. Sadly Ott Tänak (and [co-driver] Martin Järveoja) will be forced to miss the event due to personal family matters. We wish Ott all the best and can't wait to see him back in action with the team in 2022."
Tänak, 2019 WRC champion with Toyota, lies fifth in the drivers' table, and has won one race this season – round two, in Finland. Seven-time world champion Sebastien Ogier (France) is on course for an eighth title with Toyota, with only his teammate, Welshman Elfyn Evans, last year's runner up and vying for his maiden title, with a chance of toppling him in the season finale. Tänak's teammate Thierry Neuville (Belgium), another ever-the-bridesmaid driver, lies in third place, with this year's surprise package Kalle Rovanperä (Finland, Toyota), son of former driver Harri, in fourth.
Tänak and Järveoja will be replaced by a pair of Finns, Teemu Suninen and Mikko Markkula, for the Monza rally, which is to be run predominantly on asphalt, over the weekend of November 18-21.
The 2022 season starts January 20 with the traditional season opener at Monte Carlo.
Tänak, 34, from Saaremaa, finished third in the coronavirus-shortened 2020 season.
Editor: Andrew Whyte