Estonian WRC rally driver Ott Tänak plans to leave Hyundai at the end of this season.
Tänak joined Hyundai in 2020 but has now said he plans to quit the team once the current rally season is done.
He has won five rallies, taken 15 podium finishes and 101 stage wins driving the WRC edition of Hyundai's i20.
The Estonian's decision came at a time Hyundai was putting together next year's team. The team will respect Tänak's decision and is thinking back to positive moments together despite the difficulty this poses.
"This is a personal decision and one that I have taken with careful consideration and respect for the team. However, I feel that I am at a stage of my career where I need to embark on a new challenge. We have had a good partnership over the past three seasons, and I am proud of what we have achieved. We have worked hard together to overcome some difficult moments, and as we've shown this year we have moved in the right direction. The second part of this season has shown the performance level we can achieve when things click, but for me the time has come for something new. I thank the team for its understanding and wish them all well."
"Ott's departure comes as a disappointment," said Julien Moncet, deputy team director for Hyundai. "But it is a decision we must accept and respect."
"He is without doubt one of world rally's finest drivers, as we have been fortunate to experience first-hand through the victories that we have achieved together over three seasons. It's been a bit of a rollercoaster. Our first year working together was affected by the pandemic; this year we have faced a new raft of hybrid regulations which have certainly been challenging," Moncet offered.
"Ott has shown real leadership to push himself and the team to find improvements and to return to winning ways. Recently, we have built some positive momentum with our Hyundai i20 N Rally1. We will miss him but it's also an opportunity for us to regroup and rebuild. We were already giving serious thought to our crew composition for 2023 so this decision, while not being one that we wanted, opens different possibilities for us as we prepare for next season. We wish Ott and Martin [Järveoja, co-driver] the very best for their future."
Tänak fourth in Catalunya
The WRC Rally Catalunya held over the weekend went the way of Sebastien Ogier (Toyota). Tänak had to settle for fourth place behind Hyundai stablemate Thierry Neuville in second (+16.5) and Toyota's Kalle Rovanperä in third (+34.5). Tänak and co-driver Martin Järveoja lost 44 seconds to Ogier.
Rovanperä has already locked down the 2022 WRC title (255 points) ahead of Tänak in second place (187 points) and Neuville (166) in third. The final rally of the season will be driven in Japan November 10-13.
Editor: Marcus Turovski