LIKELY 2019 FIA World Rally Champion Ott Tanak will switch teams to Hyundai in 2020, according to an authoritative British report.
Autosport magazine rallies editor David Evans reported that sources had confirmed Tänak signed a deal earlier this month that will see him leave Toyota Gazoo Racing and join German-based Hyundai Motorsport alongside current title rival Thierry Neuville.
Tänak, who has been driving for Toyota for the past two years after previously driving for the M-Sport Ford team, denied any such agreement was in place and insisted his focus remained firmly on securing a first WRC title in Spain this weekend, Autosport said.
A service park source said: “Hyundai is the good option. Working with [team boss Andrea] Adamo, Ott knows what he will get and where he sits.”
Asked if he had signed Tänak, Hyundai Motorsport director Andrea Adamo replied: “No. I want to see how the situation is going on.
“I don’t know if Ott has signed with someone. I am watching the movie and I love the movie. I see lots of actors playing in the movie who are much more clever than me and much more good than me.
“I’m the new kid on the block. I’m not able to fight at the same level as them.”
Toyota team principal Tommi Makinen told Autosport: “I don’t have anything to say about this at all. We are still talking, still waiting [for Tänak].”
Where Tänak’s exit leaves Toyota is another question.
Recently-crowned WRC 2 Pro champion Kalle Rovanperä, 19, is the only driver understood to have a Toyota contract for next season, with Kris Meeke and Jari-Matti Latvala still in 2020 negotiations.
Service park speculation has already begun that Sebastien Ogier could now jump ship from Citroën to drive his final season before retirement in a Toyota.