Evans tipped to replace Tanak at Toyota in 2020

Elfyn Evans has been tipped as Ott Tanak's Toyota World Rally Championship replacement after he visited the team's Finnish headquarters squad last week.

Evans tipped to replace Tanak at Toyota in 2020

Motorsport.com revealed before Rally Spain two weeks ago that Tanak would make a shock switch to Hyundai, leaving the Toyota Gazoo Racing team with which he sealed the 2019 drivers' championship for the first time days after the news of his departure from the squad broke.

Speculation about who will drive for Toyota next year reached fever pitch last week, when current Hyundai driver Thierry Neuville was also reported to have been in Jyvaskyla.

Read Also:

Hyundai sources have since denied this.

Citroen's six-time WRC champion Sebastien Ogier has also been linked to replacing Tanak, but his contract at Citroen next year complicates any potential deal.

Current M-Sport Ford World Rally Team driver Evans and Toyota team principal Tommi Makinen were unavailable for comment when Motorsport.com contacted them on Monday regarding Evans visit to the team.

It is understood that Makinen rates Evans highly, and has been impressed with his pace and consistency this year.

Evans spent a day with the Toyota team last week, looking at the Puuppola premises and talking to the squad's senior management.

A move from M-Sport would take Evans into uncharted waters - every one of his 86 World Rally Championship starts have been made in a Ford Fiesta of varying specification.

He took his maiden British Rally Championship with M-Sport in 2016 and first WRC win in Wales the following year came at the wheel of a Fiesta WRC.

Following Rally Germany, M-Sport boss Malcolm Wilson told Motorsport.com that it would be "crazy" to let either Evans or its second driver Teemu Suninen leave after the investment he had placed in them.

M-Sport WRC team principal Richard Millener told Motorsport.com he would do all he could to keep Evans for next season.

"We've worked with Elfyn for a very long time," said Millener. "As a team, Malcolm [Wilson, team principal] has invested a huge amount in him and we'd be very reluctant to see him leave.

"We're ready to fight as best as we can. I think it's fairly common knowledge that we perhaps don't have the same resources as some of the other teams, but we'll do all what is possible."

Millener admitted the realities of M-Sport's position complicated negotiations with Evans.

"As much as we would love to keep Elfyn and win more rallies with him next year," Millener added, "we have to be very aware that we're a private team in a competitive commercial environment."

Toyota's only retained driver for next season is Skoda's WRC 2 champion Kalle Rovanpera.

Both Kris Meeke and Jari-Matti Latvala are discussing contract extensions for next year, but Motorsport.com understands neither driver has yet confirmed an agreement.

shares
comments
Breen replaces Mikkelsen at Hyundai for Australia

Previous article

Breen replaces Mikkelsen at Hyundai for Australia

Next article

Rally Australia facing threat from raging bush fires

Rally Australia facing threat from raging bush fires
Load comments

About this article

Series WRC
Drivers Elfyn Evans
Teams Toyota Motorsport GmbH
Author David Evans
Why there's no easy fix for Hyundai's operational Achilles Heel Prime

Why there's no easy fix for Hyundai's operational Achilles Heel

Hyundai Motorsport boss Andrea Adamo was vocal in his criticism of his team's tyre choices on Rally Croatia and declared that he "had better move my ass and solve it". Doing so will be vital to getting Hyundai's 2021 WRC title hopes back on track, but finding the root of the problem won't be the work of a moment

WRC
Apr 28, 2021
How Ogier survived road crash drama to triumph in Croatia Prime

How Ogier survived road crash drama to triumph in Croatia

Sebastien Ogier was already in an incredibly tight fight at Rally Croatia before a surprise collision with public road traffic at the start of the final day. But the defending champion held his nerve to take a narrow victory and create further World Rally Championship history

WRC
Apr 26, 2021
Why WRC's hybrid path could leave it at a crossroads Prime

Why WRC's hybrid path could leave it at a crossroads

With all three major manufacturers committing to the World Rally Championship’s hybrid era from 2022, the future of the series is assured for now, but it could lead to trickier twists and turns further down the road

WRC
Apr 1, 2021
How Tanak froze out the competition at the Arctic Rally Prime

How Tanak froze out the competition at the Arctic Rally

Ott Tanak made up for a disastrous Monte Carlo Rally by leading all the way on the snow-kissed stages of the Arctic Rally Finland and in the process hit back at an event Toyota had been expected to dominate…

WRC
Mar 1, 2021
What to look out for in the 2021 WRC Prime

What to look out for in the 2021 WRC

As the 2021 World Rally Championship prepares to launch amid tight COVID-19 restrictions in Monte Carlo, here are the eight things unrelated to the pandemic that you should keep an eye on this year

WRC
Jan 21, 2021
Evans on the talking points of WRC 2021 Prime

Evans on the talking points of WRC 2021

He came close to the title last year, and now Toyota's Elfyn Evans gives his verdict on what to expect from 2021 as the World Rally Championship prepares to reconvene for the Monte Carlo season opener.

WRC
Jan 20, 2021
Why Britain's continued WRC absence is a wake-up call Prime

Why Britain's continued WRC absence is a wake-up call

With Rally GB dropping off the World Rally Championship calendar for the second year in a row, one of Britain's best-attended sporting events faces an uncertain future. It's an unfortunate situation that points to troubling times ahead

WRC
Jan 12, 2021
The Top 10 WRC drivers of 2020 Prime

The Top 10 WRC drivers of 2020

A drastically-shortened 2020 season gave the World Rally Championship protagonists precious little stage mileage to strut their stuff, but as ever the cream rose to the top across the seven events. We rank the year's best performers

WRC
Jan 4, 2021