Tänak’s bold intentions + why Hyundai resigned him

Cyril Abiteboul explains why Hyundai wanted Tänak, who himself is targeting total domination of the WRC


Talking for the first time since confirming his decision to move from M-Sport to Hyundai, Ott Tänak said the goal for Hyundai next year has to be total domination of the World Rally Championship.

Tänak moves back into Hyundai to drive alongside Thierry Neuville. The 2019 world champion has his sights set very firmly on repeating his global glory of four years earlier. He’s confident management changes to the team since his departure 11 months ago are enough to topple current WRC giant Toyota.

Tänak said: “I am excited to re-join Hyundai Motorsport from the 2024 WRC season.

“Since our paths parted exactly one year ago, the team has been working very hard on the new technical structure. Hyundai 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.”

Hyundai Motorsport team principal Cyril Abiteboul sees the return of the 2019 world champion as an opportunity to finish the business the team and crew started in 2020.

“Hyundai Motorsport exists to ultimately fight for rally wins and championship titles,” said Abiteboul. “We want to be seen as a credible contender with the tools to do the job. That means the car, the organization 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 we are putting in place. We are pleased he is ready to resume the unfinished business he has with our team.

“I am confident that, in the right environment, Thierry [Neuville, team-mate] and Ott can bring out the best in each other.”

On the subject of the third car, the Frenchman said: “With this pair of winning crews secured, we can take some time to strategically consider our full line-up for next season.”

Tänak will arrive back at Hyundai after a single season with M-Sport. Senior management at the British squad were quick to thank the Estonian pair for the 2023 season – which still has two rounds to run.


M-Sport chairman Malcolm Wilson said: “Firstly, I would like to thank Ott and Martin for their efforts this season. Looking back, the season started so well, Ott’s best finish in Monte Carlo in a Rally1 followed by a victory in Sweden.

“We had a tough spell after this, and despite their incredible result in Chile, the year we all dreamt of just hasn’t come to fruition. It is obviously very disappointing for me personally to see Ott depart after only one season, but I wish him all the best.

“I would like to also thank every member of the team who has worked day in, day out giving their all to the program, their work ethic never fails to impress me through both the good times and the difficult times, they are all a true asset to M-Sport.”

Team principal Richard Millener echoed those sentiments, adding: “It has been a pleasure to work with Ott and Martin this season, a lot of work went into making the dream of getting them back to M-Sport a reality. Unfortunately, sometimes things just don’t go as you hoped, and their decision to leave the team at the end of the season is a consequence we need to accept, whilst now thinking towards what we can achieve for 2024.

“I would however like to take the opportunity to thank everyone at M-Sport who has worked tirelessly to give their all into this project with Ott and Martin, their hard work was rewarded with two superb victories but even through misfortune they have never given up, which only goes to show their strength and determination.

“There are still two events left and our aim remains to deliver further top results.”

Tänak said he was grateful for all the effort M-Sport put in this year,  and wished the team all the best for the future.

“This year has gone by so fast together with M-Sport Ford WRT,” he said. “I’m proud we have managed to win two rallies against such big manufacturers and we were able to be in the championship fight for the first part of the season.

“But this sport is tough and unfortunately we went down a few times too many, nevertheless all the people really tried hard to give us the best chances and I’m very grateful for them!

“I wish all the best to the whole M-Sport family for the upcoming seasons and hopefully we’ll have some good fights ahead of us.”