Tänak on why he signed for Hyundai, in his own words

The 2019 world champion explains his decision in an exclusive column for DirtFish


A lot of people have been asking how was it we got our deal done with Hyundai Motorsport so early. The answer is simple: we had a break after Arctic Rally Finland. It was two months doing pretty much nothing. It was perfect time to get this sorted out.

Now we’re going to Portugal and then Sardinia and the season’s going to get really busy. We will have the events, the pre-event tests, the development tests. We will be working every day, there was no point to leave this decision until later in the year.

Now we can just focus on our stuff. It’s perfect like this.

One of the big points in the decision to stay with Hyundai Motorsport was the new regulations coming and changing the team would mean you go to the car which you have not been involved in testing and developing. Now we can be born together with this car and I hope this can make a difference.

That’s the plan, anyway. But if it doesn’t happen like this then it’s only our own fault.

There were discussions with basically all three teams at the end of last year and the start of this year, but the big thing is that we can develop our own car from the beginning.

I’m sure there will be a lot of competition [in WRC], this is basically the biggest change in regulation we’ve ever had – what we have for next year is not a car like we’ve known before. It’s a hybrid for the first time, which is exciting, but also a big challenge.

As you might have read, we will have somebody with us for this challenge – it’s a really good job from Andrea [Adamo, Hyundai Motorsport team principal] to bring Christian Loriaux to the team. Andrea is putting everything on the table to make sure we are performing and we are winning.

I’m sure you saw that Thierry [Neuville] signed at the same time like me. I’m happy for this Ott Tänak

I’m sure Christian is one of these guys who is a genius from the past, more recently he’s been doing some circuit work, but all of this know-how is definitely worth having with us.

I don’t think Christian coming says anything about the team we have with us. The team is working flat-out on everything and there is a lot, a lot going on at Hyundai.

Some of the engineers working on the current car were not with us when this car was developed and with the rules only allowing minimum [homologation] jokers, there’s only so much you can change on the current car. But for the new one we are starting with a blank page and it’s all up to us now to make the perfect car.


I’m sure you saw that Thierry [Neuville] signed at the same time like me. I’m happy for this. Like this the team is definitely strong. Thierry is a great driver, there’s no doubt about that and if you have a team-mate who can push you then this is always taking you forwards.

Now we just need to see who is going to sit in the third seat. In the last couple of years Andrea has been doing a great job winning two manufacturers’ championships, I have full trust in him that he will make the right choice for the strategy.

We have talked a lot about what’s coming next year, but now the time is here for me to go back to the preparation for Portugal.