Cyril Abiteboul, Team Principal of Hyundai Shell Mobis World Rally Team is hoping that Ott Tänak can bring some Max Verstappen-style dominance to Hyundai Motorsport when he re-joins the FIA WRC team in 2024.
Not unexpectedly after a season that failed to meet his expectations, thirty-six-year-old Tänak announced his departure from M-Sport Ford at the end of next weekend’s Japanese Rally and has agreed a deal to return to the Korean brand next season having previously departed the team at the end of 2022 to drive an M-Sport Ford Puma Rally1 in this year’s championship.
Abiteboul, who was appointed as Hyundai Motorsport’s team principal in January, has not yet worked directly with Tänak – but the ex-Renault Formula 1 team boss has high hopes for his Estonian signing.
“In my own history in motorsport,” Abiteboul said, “I’ve always been inspired by the organisations that are all about a winning strategy, and everything is driven by the results. I’m thinking about Red Bull and, frankly, if Ott was in Formula 1, I am pretty sure that he would be driving for Red Bull Racing.
“That’s the inspiration that I want to carry for Hyundai – I would like that we can be the Red Bull Racing of the WRC, and Ott could be our Max [Verstappen].”
Tänak achieved nine victories whilst employed by the Korean marque between 2020 and 2022. In 2019 he claimed his sole WRC title so far with rival team Toyota.