Ott Tänak will leave Hyundai Motorsport at the end of the season.
The Estonian has terminated his contract a year early following a season to forget, despite winning three times in the i20 N Rally1.
Tänak said: “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.”
Deputy team director Julien Moncet said he was disappointed with Tänak’s decision – but paid tribute to the 2019 world champion’s efforts.
“Ott’s departure comes as a disappointment,” said Moncet, “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.
“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.”