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Friday, June 21, 2024

We don’t wish to lose Tanak from WRC workforce

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The 2019 world champion this 12 months rejoined the Ford squad that afforded him his full-time WRC debut in 2012, primarily on a one-year deal.

It seems Tanak will as soon as once more play a key position within the foolish season as groups start to type driver line-ups for the 2024 season.

Tanak has endured a difficult return to M-Sport, headlined by a victory in Sweden and a second-place end in Croatia, however his marketing campaign has been affected by a mix of misfortune and reliability that has dropped the Estonian out of the title race.

With Hyundai’s Thierry Neuville the one driver from the three Rally1 groups contracted for subsequent 12 months, in principle Tanak may have choices. Tanak has beforehand pushed for Toyota in 2018 and 2019, earlier than transferring to Hyundai for 2020 as world champion, a tenure that ended with a 12 months remaining on his contract final season.

Nonetheless, Toyota boss Jari-Matti Latvala has beforehand said he has no intentions to alter his workforce’s line-up which incorporates Kalle Rovanpera, Elfyn Evans, Takamoto Katsuta and part-time driver Sebastien Ogier.

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Rumours circulating in Rally Finland have nonetheless linked Ogier to a transfer to Hyundai, though these have been downplayed by workforce boss Cyril Abiteboul.

Hyundai is known to be eager on providing Esapekka Lappi a contract extension whereas Teemu Suninen seems an choice for its third automobile. The workforce can also be weighing up the prospect of working a fourth automobile.

Requested about its driver line-up for subsequent 12 months, M-Sport’s Millener is adamant the workforce want to proceed with Tanak however admitted the squad needed to be real looking about its choices.

Ott Tänak, M-Sport Ford World Rally Workforce

Photograph by: M-Sport

“Negotiations are at all times simpler whenever you win. I do not know what the opposite groups are doing and I do not know what choices are within the different groups,” mentioned Millener.

“We’ve to be real looking in what we are able to obtain as effectively. We’re pushing as laborious as we presumably can and to go any steps additional with what we’re doing is tough.

“We should speak over the subsequent couple of months and I do not assume it’ll be a fast resolution.

“I feel all of us do not wish to lose Ott. He has been implausible for the championship alone, but in addition for us to proceed to have him within the workforce. However it’s by no means a fast and simple reply.

“I do not know if he’ll go to a different producer or not. I do not know what Ott will do however from our facet, we’d like to have him within the workforce.

“We’ve made lots of progress and we might like to proceed it. Everyone knows we are able to do higher than what we’re, and if we had a great run of luck it may be a totally completely different story.

“If we had few a extra good outcomes we’d in all probability be having a totally completely different dialogue.”

Millener admitted that funding will not be the primary facet however among the many elements that can have to be thought of to safe Tanak’s companies for subsequent season.

“It’s actually going to be a contributing issue,” Millener added.

“It’s laborious as a result of sponsorship typically comes with good outcomes and we do not have them in the mean time. It’s a must to hope and imagine that the sponsors we do have nonetheless imagine in what we are able to do.”

Ott Tänak, Martin Järveoja, M-Sport Ford World Rally Team Ford Puma Rally1

Ott Tänak, Martin Järveoja, M-Sport Ford World Rally Workforce Ford Puma Rally1

Photograph by: McKlein / Motorsport Images

Except for its want to retain Tanak, M-Sport has immediately introduced a restructuring of its management workforce. Lengthy-serving business director John Steele will depart the position after 38 years, however will stay in an advisory position and can help introduction of a brand new management workforce.

Working below workforce proprietor Malcolm Wilson, the brand new management workforce will characteristic present firm director Matthew Wilson, technical director Chris Williams, Millener, finance director Paul McKnespiey and M-Sport Poland board member Maciej Woda.

The WRC returns after its summer season break subsequent week with a visit to Greece for the Acropolis Rally. M-Sport’s pre-event testing was unaffected by wildfire dangers within the area.

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