What Tanak’s move means for 2020
- 1st November 2019, 9:29pm
In what’s arguably the silly season shock of the decade, Ott Tanak has joined Hyundai, and the move reverberates through the remaining driver market.
His decision to join the South Korean manufacturer is surprising considering his Toyota is arguably the clear fastest of the lot, however, reliability issues have occasionally plagued the Yaris.
While it strengthens Hyundai’s line-up ten fold, it initially poses a dilemma for those directly impacted by Tanak’s move.
Less than 24 hours after the champ’s decision came, Hyundai are already shuffling drivers.
Some may think that their move to bring Craig Breen into their Rally Australia line-up is for their manufacturer’s championship bid, but one may be skeptical and indicate an eye to 2020.
Both Breen and Hyundai teammate, Andreas Mikkelsen (who he replaces in Australia), are uncontracted for next season, and seem to be on the outer at Hyundai.
Tanak’s move presents difficulties for Toyota, who are currently without a front-line talent capable of winning a world title. At this moment, reports say only youngster Kalle Rovanpera is a signed up Toyota driver for 2020.
Armed with the best car, could Mikkelsen be the man to head Toyota's 2020 attack?
Does M-Sport have the tools to sign and contend with Breen?
Will Citroen commit to three cars?
These questions are not rhetorical, and therefore do not have a definitive answer. This is why fans both love and hate the silly season.
Mads Ostberg and Hayden Paddon are also names which keep cropping up for 2020, however, with a season out of the top tier, it will be difficult for them to be selected for top line drives.
Citroen’s Esapekka Lappi has shown his speed sparingly, and Sebastien Ogier has been upset with a mishandling car. Yet with their contracts set for next season, it’s hard to see these two moving, even with the ‘Ogier to Toyota’ rumours.
Elfyn Evans may be ready to step up as a sure fire #1, as could Teemu Suninen. Each deserve drives next year.
While it’s likely there will be around 10 World Rally Car drives next year, the number of drivers waiting in the wings is higher.
Square pegs don’t fit into round holes, and this means that, like this year, there will be those that miss out on their ticket to the big dance.
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