Ott Tänak

Determined, intense and blisteringly quick, Tänak lets his driving do the talking.

Date of birth15.10.1987
BirthplaceKärla Parish, Estonia
Martin Järveoja
First WRC rally2009, Rally de Portugal
First WRC stage win
2012, Rally Sweden SS14
WRC stage wins
First WRC podium
2012, Rally d'Italia Sardegna
WRC podiums
First WRC win
2017, Rally d'Italia Sardegna
WRC wins
First WRC Wolf Power Stage win
2012, Rally de France
WRC Wolf Power Stage wins
WRC titles1 (2019)
Previous teams
M-Sport Ford, Toyota

Tänak’s career began in his native Estonia and he won the national championship in 2008 and 2009, driving for a team run by fellow countryman and ex-Ford driver Markko Märtin.

He won the European Pirelli Star Driver shootout, earning a PWRC support category programme in the 2010 WRC in which he finished fourth.

In 2011 Tänak was behind the wheel of a Ford Fiesta S2000 in SWRC. Victories in Italy, Germany and France sent him to the final round in Spain with a title chance but he had to settle for the runners-up spot.

His performance earned him promotion to the M-Sport Ford World Rally Team for 2012. However, it was a disappointing year and despite a maiden podium at the penultimate round in Sardinia, Tänak was dropped at the end of the season.

He made his comeback in 2014, combining WRC2 in a Ford Fiesta R5 with three events back in an M-Sport Fiesta RS World Rally Car. Armed with new levels of maturity and focus, Tänak was invited back into the full-time M-Sport fold for 2015.

His season took a scary turn in Mexico when his Fiesta went off the road and was submerged in a lake. Footage of his astonishing escape went viral and made ‘the raising of the Ti-Tänak’ one of the most talked about WRC stories for many years.

He was dropped for a second time at the end of the season but stayed with Fiesta RS power to drive in 2016 with the newly-formed DMACK World Rally Team. Only a last-gasp puncture in Poland cruelly denied him a maiden win.

For 2017, Tänak returned to M-Sport’s manufacturer squad and proved a revelation as he secured third in the drivers’ standings, claiming his first victory in Italy and adding another win on Germany’s asphalt.

A move to Toyota Gazoo Racing for 2018 proved a masterstroke as Tänak found his winning edge in the Yaris. Four victories gave him a chance to win the drivers’ title, but his challenge faded during the last two months of the season.

There were no such mistakes in 2019 and from early in the campaign Tänak had the aura of a champion in the making. Six wins from 13 rounds sealed the title before he delivered one of the WRC’s biggest shocks in years by leaving Toyota to join arch-rivals Hyundai Motorsport for 2020.

Tänak’s Hyundai career got off to a rocky start with a huge crash at Rallye Monte-Carlo and his title defence failed, despite taking three podiums and a victory on his home rally in Estonia. The 2021 season was equally tough. He won Arctic Rally Finland but was hindered by mechanical maladies on several events and had to settle for a lowly fifth.

Despite recording victories on three rallies during 2022, Tänak made a shock announcement hours after finishing Rally RACC – Rally de España, confirming he would leave Hyundai at the end of the season.

His next steps were revealed just weeks later as the Estonian signed for M-Sport Ford, returning to the team which gave him his first big break in world-level rallying.

Driving a Ford Puma with Martin Järveoja alongside, Tänak was keen to reclaim the drivers’ crown – something he’d been unsuccessful in doing for the past three seasons. However, reliability issues plagued the Estonian and, despite securing wins in Sweden and Chile, he ended the season in fourth. 

Tänak returned to Hyundai in search of more success in 2024, joining Thierry Neuville and part-time drivers Andreas Mikkelsen, Dani Sordo and Esapekka Lappi.

Starts: Thursday, July 18, 2024 at 4:31:00 AM
Starts: Friday, July 26, 2024 at 7:00:00 AM
Starts: Saturday, July 27, 2024 at 6:00:00 AM