Tänak teammate: Ott staying at Hyundai in 2023 depends on who manages team
Whether Ott Tänak stays with the Hyundai WRC team for 2023 is largely contingent on who will head up the team, Tänaks' teammate, Belgian Thierry Neuville, told rally portal Dirtfish.
Neuville, who unlike Tänak has yet to be WRC drivers' champion though has played the bridesmaid on more than one season, told Dirtfish that: "I guess that, first of all, I don't think that Ott is retiring that quickly," even with regard to a one-season sabbatical rather than a full retirement, adding that: "I knew he was having a bit of a difficult time also at home but I guess the reason the results gave him the motivation he needs.
Who will head up the Hyundai team is a major factor in his Estonian teammate's likely decision, Neuville, who, along with Tänak, has critcized the team's management this season – in the latter's case by stating that current acting principal Julien Moncet should not be given the job full-time.
Ott Tänak wouldn't say whether he'll remain at Hyundai in 2023 or not #WRC— DirtFish (@DirtFishRally) September 11, 2022
Do you think he'll stay put? pic.twitter.com/mNvGIiBWyU
Add to that the team orders incident at the Acropolis Rally in Greece, Dirtfish says, and it is small wonder that there has been speculation about Tänak's future with Hyundai or with WRC as a whole, while, conversely, speculation who might be able to lead the team with enough effectiveness for that not to come to pass.
The original Dirtfish piece is here.
Ott Tänak, 35, from Saaremaa, was 2019 drivers' champion with Toyota, immediately making the move to Hyundai for the following, as it turned out Covid-blighted, 2020 season, and while he won the inaugural full WRC Rally Estonia that summer, his form and fortune have fluctuated since then, though a bright spot in the current season was the two back-to-back victories in Finland and Belgium in summer.
Young Finn Kalle Rovanperä's win in New Zealand two weekends ago put paid to any mathematical chance of the Estonian winning a second drivers' championship this year, with his co-driver and compatriot Martin Järveoja.
He was also critical early this season about the new hybrid regulations introduced for 2022.
There are only three teams in the top-level WRC series at present, following Citroen's departure after the 2019 season, and Tänak has driven for all three of them.
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Editor: Andrew Whyte