Ott Tänak will rejoin the Hyundai World Rally Team next season, a year after leaving the team for M-Sport this season.
2019 WRC champion Ott Tänak will return to Hyundai after leaving the team at the end of the 2022 season, despite having a year remaining on his contract back then.
The Estonian won his second rally of 2023 with M-Sport at last weekend’s Rally Chile. That victory came after a series of disappointing results following simple bad luck and reliability problems.
A lot has changed at Hyundai since Tänak left the team last year. Former Renault F1 boss Cyril Abiteboul became the team’s Team Principal. In May of this year, Hyundai appointed a new technical director in François-Xavier Demaison who was a key part of Volkswagen’s all-conquering Polo R WRC from 2013-2016.
The structural changes have convinced Tänak to rejoin the team, the Estonian said: “Since our paths parted exactly one year ago, the team has been working very hard on the new technical structure.
“Hyundai Motorsport has a clear vision and target for the near future, and it is something that convinced me to join our forces again. I am also looking forward to work with Cyril Abiteboul and François-Xavier Demaison, as their experience and knowledge in motorsport is definitely a big advantage for the whole team.
“Our goal in this new chapter will be nothing less than to win all the three titles, and with the new structure of the team, we have all the tools needed to achieve it.”
Abiteboul: ‘Tänak was exited by the renewed ambitions and structure’
Hyundai Motorsport Team Principal Cyril Abiteboul said: “Hyundai Motorsport exists to ultimately fight for rally wins and championship titles. We want to be seen as a credible contender with the tools to do the job; that means the car, the organisation, and the driving talent.
“In exploring our options for 2024, I opened a discussion with Ott, who was excited by the renewed ambitions and structure that we are putting in place. We are pleased that he is ready to resume the unfinished business that he has with our team. I am confident that, in the right environment, Thierry and Ott can bring out the best in each other.
“With this pair of winning crews secured, we can take some time to strategically consider our full line-up for next season.”
Hyundai’s 2024 WRC line-up
Hyundai currently has Thierry Neuville, Esapekka Lappi, Teemu Suninen and Dani Sordo on its Rally1 roster. Neuville was, until today’s announcement of Tänak, the only driver with a contract for next year’s WRC.
Lappi has a full-time seat at the moment, but with Tänak joining Thierry Neuville as a full-time Hyundai driver, it is yet to be seen whether Lappi will get a full-time seat for 2024. The team stated in today’s announcement that it “will take its time to explore various options for the rest of its 2024 WRC line-up.”
Photo: Hyundai Motorsport