World champion Ott Tänak has decided not to carry the coveted #1 on his Hyundai i20 in this season’s FIA World Rally Championship.
As reigning drivers’ champion, the Estonian was entitled to take the #1 with him in his switch from Toyota Gazoo Racing to Hyundai Motorsport. Instead Tänak will use the #8 which adorned his Yaris en route to the 2019 title.
Tänak’s Hyundai squad unveiled photographs of its 2020 challenger on Monday morning, sporting only minor changes to last season’s colour scheme.
In previous years the Korean manufacturer has focused its efforts on winning the manufacturers’ title, a goal it finally achieved last season. Team principal Andrea Adamo said the target for 2020 was to challenge for both the manufacturers’ and drivers’ series.
“We had an extremely successful 2019, but the slate is wiped clean again as we prepare for 2020. Our aims for the coming season are clear: to fight for victory in each of the events on the calendar and to mount a challenge for the drivers’ and manufacturers’ titles.
“We know the ferocity of the competition will remain intense, so we have to make sure our technical package is as strong as possible,” added Adamo, who will field Tänak and Thierry Neuville at every round. A third car will be shared between Dani Sordo and Sébastien Loeb.
Drivers are again able to select their own personal competition number for the year. Neuville and Sordo have chosen #11 and #6, as in 2019. Loeb has switched from #19 to #9 this year.
Neuville has finished runner-up in the drivers’ standings for the last four seasons and the Belgian is focused on repelling the challenge of new team-mate Tänak to clinch his maiden title.
“It won’t be easy, of course, as there are lots of talented crews. However, we have shown ourselves to be quick, consistent and resilient in the face of challenges,” he said.
“We want to make the most of our years of experience and reward the hard work of the entire Hyundai Motorsport team with a title double,” added Neuville, who starts his seventh campaign with the team at next week’s Rallye Monte-Carlo (23 - 27 January).