Rally portal: Ott Tänak to be replaced at Hyundai by Esapekka Lappi

Ott Tänak (right) with Esapekka Lappi in a photo from 2018, when both were drivers with Toyota.
Ott Tänak (right) with Esapekka Lappi in a photo from 2018, when both were drivers with Toyota. Source: Toyota GAZOO Racing World Rally Team

Estonian rally driver Ott Tänak is to be replaced at Hyundai by Finn Esapekka Lappi, Rally portal Dirtfish claims.

Hyundai deputy team principal Julien Moncet, who has been temporarily heading up the team, could neither confirm nor deny the rumors, saying: "Currently there is a lot of speculation surrounding many drivers for next year. Our line-up for 2023 has still to be fixed and will be communicated in due course," he continued, saying the main current focus is the season-closing Rally Japan, which takes place next weekend and will be Tänak's swansong with the team.

Norwegian Andreas Mikkeslen had previously been lined up to go to Hyundai, a team he had driven for in the past, but seems to have lost out to Lappi – the latter's appointment Dirtfish called "sensational".

Lappi had been sharing a seat at Toyota, this year's manufacturers' winner and, through Lappi's compatriot, Kalle Rovaneperä, the drivers' title as well, and in that time Lappi had won 14 stages and led for three more, though did not take a race win.

Lappi has switched between four teams over the six seasons he has competed. Since Citroen's departure from the top tier of WRC in 2019, only three teams remain: Hyundai, Toyota and M-Sport Ford; Ott Tänak has driven for all three also and won his sole drivers' title so far with Toyota, also in 2019.

The original Dirtfish piece is here.

Tänak announced his departure from Hyundai last month.

Rally Japan runs from next Thursday, November 9, to the following Sunday as per standard WRC procedure.


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Editor: Andrew Whyte

Source: Dirtfish

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