Tanak has ‘no doubts’ after first Hyundai test

Reigning World Rally champion Ott Tanak says he has “no doubts” he can fight to defend his crown with Hyundai after testing the i20 Coupe WRC this week.

Tanak made a shock switch to Hyundai on a two-year deal after wrapping up this year’s WRC crown for Toyota, and had his first taste of the car in which he’ll attempt to defend his title on Thursday in the French Alps.

The Estonian, who joins Thierry Neuville, Sebastien Loeb and Dani Sordo at Hyundai for 2020, says he is already convinced that he’ll be in a position to fight for the top prize again.

“Obviously Hyundai won the manufacturers’ championship [this year] so I have no doubt I’m in a good place next year,” said Tanak at the FIA Prize Gala in Paris.

“It’s never easy to change team, it takes time to settle in, but I believe I will have all the tools I need to fight for the championship. The aim next year is definitely to fight for it.”

Asked specifically if he felt comfortable in the Hyundai, the Estonian replied: “I did!”

Explaining his thought process behind leaving Toyota, Tanak said he felt he was a “good match” with Hyundai team boss Andrea Adamo, and that his “feeling” was that the Korean marque would be the best place for him to add to his tally of titles in future.

“It’s never easy to leave a team, especially with a car like this,” he said. “It has been a great two years and the car has been improving and there is performance, there is no doubt.

“It’s always easier to stay where you are but I still feel I have plenty of motivation to keep pushing and I can’t stay on one title, I’d like to have more.

“Through the year I’ve been in touch with Andrea Adamo. He seems the kind of guy who likes to push as much as I like to. So I think for sure we’re a good match and the team is full of motivation to do everything in their power to fight for the championship.

“That was just my feeling, that it’s the team to be in to fight for the championship.”

Tanak added there were was no ill-feeling towards Toyota despite talks breaking down.

“It was a long negotiation and it went nowhere for a long time,” he said. “I believe there were no hard feelings, and we’ll just continue competing but next year against each other.”

Ott Tänak, Martin Järveoja, Toyota Gazoo Racing WRT Toyota Yaris WRC

Photo by: Toyota Racing

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