MOTORSPORT NEWS Rally

Tanak wants to stay with M-Sport amid Toyota interest

Two-time WRC winner Ott Tanak says his best chance of WRC success comes by staying with the M-Sport team next season. The Estonian is being chased hard by Toyota for next season, but Tanak gave his strongest hint yet that he might not be tempted away by Tommi Makinen’s Yaris WRC.

Ott Tanak

Tanak said he was willing to look past a potentially favourable financial package from the Finnish-based team for the chance of more success in a Cumbrian-built Ford Fiesta WRC.

“I have what I need, I think [at M-Sport],” he told Motorsport.com. “The priority is always the sport. You want to win and you want to be in the best possible place.

“I need to look into the future and decide where we have the best position. I know M-Sport very well, I know the people and how it works and I developed this new car and it’s driving as I want.

“There are still some open links [to other teams] and I would like to do it [the deal] as early as possible.”

Tanak heaped praise on M-Sport’s Ford Fiesta car, saying it is the most versatile car, since it is strong at every round.

The Estonian is third in the 2016 standings, 33 points behind the championship leader, with three rallies to go.

“For the moment it looks like the car we have at the moment is very strong and, I think, one of the most neutral cars in that it’s competitive everywhere,” he added.

“We have seen some cars perform on certain rallies, but they have not been so strong everywhere in the way our car is – this is good for the future.

“The plan is to fight for the championship. OK, we are quite close this year and we don’t know what will happen in the last three rallies, but we want to fight next year and in the coming years.”

Tanak wants Ogier to stay

Sebastien Ogier is also being tipped for a move, with the Frenchman linked to a return to Citroen.

Tanak maintains keeping M-Sport’s current line-up of him, Ogier and Brit Elfyn Evans would likely continue their domination from this season.

“Let’s see with Seb, nothing is decided yet for him to leave,” said Tanak. “Sebastien is a very good teammate, he’s a strong guy, especially in his head.

“I’ve learned from him and he’s a good guy as a teammate. We have a good relationship with Elfyn, we have known each other a long time.”

M-Sport team principal Malcolm Wilson reiterated his desire to keep the team together – but not at any cost.

“I’ve told you the same story all the way down the line,” Wilson told Motorsport.com. “I want them, of course I want them to stay, but I won’t jeopardise this team or M-Sport to make that happen.”

Source: Story: David Evans. Published by Motorsport.com