Ott Tanak set to sign new Toyota deal for 2020
Following his wins on the two most recent rounds of the 2019 World Rally Championship, it is looking more likely that Ott Tänak will end all speculation about his WRC future by signing a renewed deal with Toyota.
Tänak left M-Sport for Toyota in 2018, and narrowly missed out on the WRC title last season after a late run of victories failed to cancel out a bad start to the year.
This time both M-Sport and Hyundai have shown interest in signing the Estonian for 2020, but it is believed that the championship leader will stay with stick with Toyota, the team that also heads the manufacturers' title race.
"We are discussing and quite seriously,” Tänak said. “It's still open, but I hope we can find a solution. I'd like to make a decision soon, there's been a lot of talks this week and it would be nice to have it done around Germany."
Toyota boss and one-time quadruple world champion Tommi Mäkinen said he was fairly confident of keeping the Estonian.
"I would say, yes,” said the Finnish team boss. “If I am thinking from the driver's point of view, the package [at Toyota] is really safe for him. He is so well welded together with the car and there is nothing he needs to learn again. He knows exactly how to drive the car in every condition. When you jump to the new car you need to learn it again, you don't do it immediately, it always takes time to learn new car how to go fast - now you just concentrate to doing your work yourself. If I am looking at the bigger picture for him, staying with us is the biggest way to guarantee success."
Tänak heads to Rally Deutschland later this month after winning in Finland, which he also managed last season. There is also an understanding that Kalle Rovanperä will have a seat at Toyota in the WRC next year, while the rest if the squad is not so certain. The current line-up includes Kris Meeke and Jari-Matti Latvala alongside Tänak. But Latvala and Meeke both face uncertain futures after errors by the pair squandered a potential win and podium position in Finland, respectfully.