|Born||15 October 1987|
|World Rally Championship record|
|Active years||2009–2012, 2014–present|
|Co-driver|| Martin Järveoja (2017–2022)|
Raigo Mõlder (2014–2016)
Kuldar Sikk (2010–2012)
Kristo Kraag (2009)
|Teams||M-Sport (2011–2012, 2014–2015, 2017, 2023)|
DMACK (2014, 2016)
Pirelli Star Driver (2010)
|First rally||2009 Rally de Portugal|
|First win||2017 Rally Italia Sardegna|
|Last win||2022 Ypres Rally|
|Last rally||2023 Monte Carlo Rally|
|Last updated on: 22 January 2023.|
Ott Tänak (Estonian pronunciation: [ˈotʲˑ ˈtæ.nɑk]; born 15 October 1987) is an Estonian rally driver and the 2019 World Rally Champion. He is currently teamed with Martin Järveoja and is competing for M-Sport World Rally Team.
Tänak achieved his maiden drivers' world title in the 2019 World Rally Championship, making him the first Estonian to win the drivers' championship, the first non-Frenchman to win the title since Petter Solberg in 2003 and the first for Toyota since Didier Auriol in 1994.
Tänak won the Estonian Rally Championship in 2008 and 2009, driving for the team run by former world rally winner Markko Märtin. Tänak made his World Rally Championship debut on the 2009 Rally de Portugal, finishing 20th overall. In September 2009 Tänak won the European Pirelli Star Driver shootout held in Austria. This gave him the opportunity to compete six rounds of the 2010 World Rally Championship season in PWRC support category programme. He won the WRC category on the 2010 Rally Finland and 2010 Rally GB.
Tänak scored his first WRC points in the 2011 Rally Mexico, and finished 3rd in SWRC. In Italy he collected his first class win with an outstanding performance. He continued to impress in Greece, as he was leading after the first day, but rolled his car on the first stage of the second day, and had to retire. In Finland he finished 3rd, and looked like he has only mathematical chances of winning the title. But with victories in Germany and France, he put himself back into title contention, arriving in Spain only 3 points behind leader Juho Hänninen. However, he hit a rock on the first stage, breaking his Fiesta S2000's front crossmember, and had to restart under SupeRally rules, meaning that he basically lost all of his chances of becoming the champion. He finished the event sixth in SWRC, and runner-up to Hänninen in the championship standings.
He made his debut in a WRC-spec Ford Fiesta prepared by M-Sport Stobart at the 2011 Wales Rally GB, testing tyre supplier DMACK's tyre compounds in preparation for their entry into the championship in 2012.
In 2012, Tänak was the number one driver for M-Sport Ford World Rally Team, and with a Ford Fiesta RS WRC he drove the full 2012 season. At the Rally Sweden Tänak took his first stage win on SS14. He later had a season with ups and downs. After retiring in Sweden with engine failure, he finished fifth in Mexico. But in Portugal, he slid off the road, forcing him to return under Rally2 (formerly SupeRally) rules. The next round, Rally Argentina started well for Tänak, but continued badly: he collected punctures, and slid back to 37th, but fought his way back to 10th. In Greece, he was doing well until he had to stop due to suspension damage and had to use Rally2 again. He crashed out in New Zealand, but on Rally Finland, the next round, he bounced back with a 6th-place finish. He followed this up by two crashes in Germany and Great Britain. After these poor performances, he went on to finish sixth in France. He scored his first podium in Italy, the penultimate round of the season, by finishing 3rd behind winner Mikko Hirvonen and Evgeny Novikov. The final round of the season, the Catalunya Rally, was bittersweet to him: on the first day, he was even leading the rally, and was lying fifth when he crashed out on the last stage. He finished 8th in the final standings, winning 8 stages during the season.
In the year 2013, Tänak was no longer a part of M-Sport World Rally Team and was forced to leave the WRC stage. He started competing in and leading a team at Estonian national rallies, OT Racing, and the first rally under his direction was Võru Talveralli 2013. Tänak's first competitive rally in 2013 was Rally Tallinn, driving a Subaru Impreza WRX STi N12, in which he finished 2nd, just after Georg Gross, who was driving a 2008 Ford Focus WRC, and just 0.4 seconds ahead of Alexey Lukyanuk, who was driving in a Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution 10. In season total, he finished 6 rally events, of which one he won and came 2nd in the rest, all behind Georg Gross. At the season finale, Saaremaa Rally, Tänak led the event at the penultimate stage by just 4.4 seconds ahead of Georg Gross. Five stages before the penultimate stage, Tänak, with his WRC experience, knew that he would have to really push in the early morning when others are still waking up. He succeeded and built a lead of 15.9 seconds ahead of Egon Kaur and 20 seconds ahead of Georg Gross. But it wasn't enough, he was driving on the limits of his Subaru Impreza and couldn't go any faster. Georg Gross caught him on the final stage and won by 2.4 seconds. He finished the season by winning the N4 class with 3 points ahead of Timmu Kõrge.
Tänak joined the DMACK World Rally Team in 2014, which he drove under WRC2, and M-Sport, where he took part in Sweden, Portugal and Sardegna with a Ford Fiesta RS WRC. Raigo Mõlder served as his co-driver and his WRC-2 teammate was Jari Ketomaa.
In 2015, Tänak returned to M-Sport Ford World Rally Team following the retirement of Mikko Hirvonen to compete in the Ford Fiesta RS WRC. His best result of the season was claiming third in the 72nd Rally Poland, matching his career-best result.
Ott Tänak left the M-Sport World Rally Team and returned to the DMACK World Rally Team, the team he drove for at selected events in 2014. Tänak achieved two podium finishes during 2016 season. Having dominated most of the Rally Poland, Tänak suffered puncture in the penultimate stage and lost out to eventual winner Andreas Mikkelsen. He picked up another podium in Wales Rally where he also finished second. Tänak finished the season 8th.
After a year in DMACK World Rally Team, Tänak returned to M-Sport Ford World Rally Team, teaming up with 4-time world champion Sébastien Ogier, who chose M-Sport after Volkswagen's withdrawal. Tänak changed co-drivers, with Martin Järveoja replacing Raigo Mõlder. Tänak started the year off well, driving himself to third place in both Monte Carlo and Argentina, and to second place in Sweden. In Portugal, Tänak led at the end of day 1, but hit a bank and punctured a tire early on during day 2, eventually finishing 4th. However, in the next round in Sardinia, Tänak inherited the lead after a mistake by Hayden Paddon, and despite a final day charge by Jari-Matti Latvala, finally took his first WRC event win. He squandered the chance of back-to-back wins when he crashed early on during the final day in Poland. After a frustrating seventh-place finish in Finland, Ott surprised many by taking a faultless win in Germany, marking the first time Ford or M-Sport have won in Germany since it became a WRC event in 2002. The Estonian went on to finish the final events of the year third (Spain), second (Wales) and sixth (Australia), guaranteeing him overall third place in the championship behind teammate Ogier and Thierry Neuville.
Before the 2018 season Tänak signed a two-year deal with Toyota Gazoo Racing WRT, run by 4-time world champion Tommi Mäkinen. His team-mates for the season were Jari-Matti Latvala and Esapekka Lappi. While many speculated that the Estonian would take considerable time to get used to the team and the car, Tänak proved people wrong by showing immediate speed in the Toyota - finishing second in the opening round in Monte Carlo, following it up with another podium in Corsica and winning in Argentina, having led from day one by a strong margin. Both him and his Toyota car demonstrated their highly competitive performance round-after-round, but similarly to Sebastien Ogier, Tänak was hampered by the starting order in Sweden and suffered a turbo failure in the high altitudes at Mexico. Tänak replicated his earlier success in Argentina with three consecutive rally wins in Finland, Germany and Turkey, putting him in striking distance for the drivers championship behind Ogier and Neuville with three events left. Unfortunate performances in Great Britain and Spain left Ott with narrow chances at the title, being 23 points off the lead with one event left. Tricky conditions took Ott out of contention for the title and he finished the Australian event in 4th. Jari-Matti Latvala's win in the final rally meant that Toyota Gazoo Racing WRT won the constructors championship for the first time since 1999.
Continuing the overall trend from the previous two seasons, Ott Tänak finished third in Monte Carlo behind rivals Thierry Neuville and Sebastien Ogier. He then went on to win in Sweden, marking the first time Ott had led the points standings in the WRC driver's championship. Paving the way for the first time in his career, he managed second place in Mexico, retaining first place in the championship over Ogier by 4 points. Tänak won the debuting Rally Chile ahead of Sebastien Ogier and Sebastien Loeb, and despite a last-minute loss in the 2019 Rally Italia Sardegna, won four more rallies before securing his first driver's championship trophy in the 2019 Rally Catalunya, following an early power steering failure by Ogier in the first leg and a Power Stage victory by Tänak. Tänak became the first driver who is not French and called Sébastien to win the World Rally Championship since 2003.
In October 2019 Tänak signed a two-year deal with Hyundai. He could have been selected number 1, which is reserved for the champion for the previous season but he decided to keep the number 8 during the season. Tänak's title defence began with a major shunt at the Monte Carlo Rally, with his Hyundai i20 bottoming out on a bump in Stage 4 and flying off a 40 metre high cliff at 180 km/h, rolling end-over-end through a series of trees before landing on the road below – with both him and Järveoja remarkably walking away uninjured. Tänak made up for this with a second-place finish in Sweden, just below Elfyn Evans who won the event.
Tänak and Järveoja retired from leading the 2021 Monte Carlo Rally and retired from the 2021 Rally Catalunya. He retired from the lead at the 2021 Rally de Portugal because of damage to the rear right suspension. He clipped a rock and crashed out of the lead at the 2021 Rally Italia Sardegna and retired from Day 1 at his Home Rally, the 2021 Rally Estonia due to a puncture.
With new regulations mandating the use of a hybrid system in place for 2022 and onwards, Hyundai World Rally Team faced a new challenge. Team Principal Andrea Adamo left the team due to personal reasons. Hyundai's new Hyundai i20 N Rally1 Car was neither competitive nor reliable at the first round in Monte Carlo and Tänak and Järveoja retired from the rally.
Tänak and Järveoja scored their first podium of the season at the Croatia Rally. Leader Kalle Rovanperä lost time to Tänak, who was in second place; due to a puncture. In the penultimate stage of the rally Tänak chose soft tyres over Rovanperä's hards, meaning he not only won the stage, but gained 29.8 seconds over Rovanperä and got the overall lead with 1.4 seconds. In the powerstage he could not match Rovanperä's time and lost the rally by 4.3 seconds.
At the Rally Italia Sardegna, Tänak and Järveoja were fighting with Elfyn Evans and later with Esapekka Lappi for the rally lead on Friday after Evans' retirement. Tänak took the overall lead on SS4 and lost it on SS7 due to transmission issues and reportedly only having three wheel drive. SS8 and 9 were cancelled. In the opening stage of Saturday, Lappi crashed and Tänak now lead the rally. He held a comfortable lead over Craig Breen and won the rally with 9 stage wins.
Tänak was born in Kärla, Saare County (or in Kuressaare). He married Janika Tänak in 2016, with whom he has two children, a son named Ron and a daughter named Mia. In 2017, Ott Tänak was chosen for the Estonian Athlete of the Year award, and in 2018, he and Martin Järveoja were chosen for the Estonian Sports Team of the Year award.
A documentary film about Tänak's life and rallying career titled Ott Tänak: The Movie was announced in December 2018. The film provides a rare look at the Estonian rally driver's early life on the island of Saaremaa and eventual rally career through interviews from his friends, relatives and colleagues in the sport, interspersed with archive and filmed footage of his past and current rallies. It was released theatrically in Estonia on 11 April 2019.
|1||71st Rally Poland||2014||Raigo Mõlder||Ford Fiesta R5|
|1||8th Rally Italia Sardegna||2011||Kuldar Sikk||Ford Fiesta S2000|
|2||29th Rallye Deutschland||2011||Kuldar Sikk||Ford Fiesta S2000|
|3||2nd Rallye de France Alsace||2011||Kuldar Sikk||Ford Fiesta S2000|
|1||60th Rally Finland||2010||Kuldar Sikk||Mitsubishi Lancer Evo X|
|2||66th Wales Rally GB||2010||Kuldar Sikk||Mitsubishi Lancer Evo X|
|1||5th Rally Estonia||2014||Raigo Mõlder||Ford Fiesta R5|
Other notable victories
|1||41st Saaremaa Rally||2008||Raigo Mõlder||Subaru Impreza STi|
|2||44th Saaremaa Rally||2011||Kuldar Sikk||Ford Focus RS WRC 03|
|3||50th Saaremaa Rally||2017||Georg Gross||Ford Fiesta RS WRC|
|4||8th Rally Estonia||2018||Martin Järveoja||Toyota Yaris WRC|
|5||9th Rally Estonia||2019||Martin Järveoja||Toyota Yaris WRC|
|Season||Team||Starts||Victories||Podiums||Stage wins||DNF||Points||Final result|
|2010||Private/Pirelli Star Driver||7||0||0||0||3||0||–|
* Season still in progress.
|2010||Pirelli Star Driver||Mitsubishi Lancer Evo X||SWE||MEX||JOR||NZL||FIN
|2011||MM Motorsport||Ford Fiesta S2000||MEX
|2014||Drive Dmack||Ford Fiesta R5||MON||SWE||MEX
|2014||MM Motorsport||Ford Fiesta R5||JÄN||LIE||GRE||IRE||AZO||YPR||EST
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- "Ott Tänak from Markko Martin's team wins Estonian championship again | RallyBuzz". Archived from the original on 5 March 2012. Retrieved 20 April 2016.
- "Ott Tänak - Kristo Kraag - Vodafone Rally de Portugal 2009". ewrc-results.com.
- "Ott Tänak and Alex Raschi winners Pirelli Star Driver Shootout Europe | RallyBuzz". Archived from the original on 5 March 2012. Retrieved 20 April 2016.
- "Ott Tänak - Rally Driver Overview & Profile". wrc.com.
- "Ott Tänak - PWRC statistics". ewrc-results.com.
- "Ott Tänak sõlmis Fordiga viieaastase kontrahti". Eesti Päevaleht (in Estonian). 22 January 2011.
- Evans, David (3 November 2011). "Ott Tanak to give DMACK tyres their World Rally Car debut in Britain". Autosport. Haymarket Publications. Retrieved 4 November 2011.
- "Tanak takes first stage win". World Rally Championship. International Sportsworld Communicators. 11 February 2012. Retrieved 11 February 2012.
- Blackstock, Elizabeth (29 October 2019). "Ott Tanak Got The WRC Championship He Deserved". Jalopnik. Retrieved 30 October 2019.
- "Ott Tanak back in WRC in 2014". Crash.Net. Crash.Net. Retrieved 19 December 2013.
- "A TEAM WITH POTENTIAL: M-SPORT CONFIRM EVANS AND TÄNAK". M-Sport. Archived from the original on 7 March 2018.
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- "Tänak uncertain of 2016 plans". WRC.com. WRC Promoter GmbH. Retrieved 19 October 2015.
- "MIKKELSEN'S WIN, TÄNAK'S HEARTBREAK". 3 July 2016.
- "Ogier and Tänak lead M-Sport in 2017". m-sport.co.uk. M-Sport World Rally Team. 12 December 2016. Archived from the original on 20 September 2018. Retrieved 12 December 2016.
- "Tänak claims first win". wrc.com. WRC. 11 June 2017. Retrieved 2 July 2017.
- "Second success for Tänak". wrc.com. Retrieved 20 August 2017.
- Howard, Tom (19 November 2017). "Neuville wins, Latvala crash hands Paddon podium". Speedcafe. Retrieved 19 November 2017.
- Evans, David (17 January 2018). "Ott Tanak felt stuck as Sebastien Ogier's number two at M-Sport". autosport.com. Retrieved 16 May 2018.
- "Breaking News: Victory for Tänak". wrc.com. WRC. 29 April 2018. Retrieved 29 April 2018.
- "Sunday in Turkey: Tänak's turkish delight". wrc.com. WRC. 16 September 2018. Retrieved 17 August 2019.
- Van Leeuwen, Andrew (18 November 2018). "Rally Australia: Latvala wins as Ogier, Toyota claim WRC titles". autosport.com. Motorsport Network. Retrieved 18 November 2018.
- "Sunday in Sweden:Victory for ice-cool Tänak". wrc.com. WRC. 17 February 2019. Retrieved 18 February 2019.
- "Sunday in Mexico: Ogier nets fifth win". wrc.com. WRC. 11 March 2019. Retrieved 11 March 2019.
- "Estonian driver Ott Tänak wins World Rally Championship". San Francisco Chronicle. 27 October 2019. Archived from the original on 28 October 2019. Retrieved 28 October 2019.
- "Ott Tänak crowned WRC drivers' world champion". ERR.ee. 27 October 2019. Retrieved 28 October 2019.
- Price, Sian; Gray, Andy (19 January 2022). "World Rally Championship: Could there be a first British winner for more than 20 years?". BBC Sport. Retrieved 26 January 2022.
- "Tänak quits Toyota". wrc.com. WRC Promoter GmbH. 31 October 2019. Retrieved 31 October 2019.
- "Champ Ott shuns #1 at Hyundai". wrc.com. WRC Promoter GmbH. 13 January 2020. Retrieved 13 January 2020.
- "SS4/5: Evans leads, Tänak crashes". wrc.com. WRC Promoter GmbH. 24 January 2020. Retrieved 25 January 2020.
- Craig, Jason (16 November 2021). "Reliability has cost Hyundai this season - Neuville". Crash. Retrieved 21 February 2022.
- Barry, Luke (23 January 2021). "Tänak retires from Monte Carlo Rally". DirtFish. Retrieved 21 February 2022.
- "WATCH: Tänak forced out of Rally de Portugal". WRC - World Rally Championship. Retrieved 21 February 2022.
- "Leader Tänak retires, Ogier on top in Italy". WRC - World Rally Championship. Retrieved 21 February 2022.
- Howard, Tom. "WRC Estonia: Rally favourite Tanak suffers shock early retirement". www.autosport.com. Retrieved 21 February 2022.
- "Tänak to miss Monza finale". WRC - World Rally Championship. 2 November 2021. Retrieved 21 February 2022.
- "WRC Arctic Rally: Tanak seals victory, Rovanpera takes championship lead". www.autosport.com. Retrieved 21 February 2022.
- Howard, Tom (7 December 2021). "Hyundai confirms shock departure of team principal Andrea Adamo". www.autosport.com. Retrieved 21 February 2022.
- Howard, Tom. "Tanak retires from Monte Carlo as Hyundai's "tough" WRC Rally1 debut worsens". www.motorsport.com. Retrieved 21 February 2022.
- "Rovanperä grabs last-gasp Croatia victory". WRC - World Rally Championship. Retrieved 12 June 2022.
- Lindsay, Alastair (5 June 2022). "Tänak cruises to Rally Italy victory". DirtFish. Retrieved 12 June 2022.
- "ESBL: Ott Tänak". www.esbl.ee. Retrieved 1 August 2021.
- "Ott Tänak – rallimees, kes armus oma naisesse sekundi murdosa jooksul - Eesti Päevaleht". LP. 30 November 2018.
- "HÕISSA, PULMAD! Ott Tänak abiellus". Õhtuleht (in Estonian). Retrieved 25 August 2018.
- "Palju õnne! Ralliäss Ott Tänak abiellus oma kauni kallimaga". Elu24. Retrieved 25 August 2018.
- "Video: Ott Tänakust on valmimas dokumentaalfilm". Postimees Sport (in Estonian). 20 December 2018.