October 31, 2019 / 7:05 PM / 14 days ago

Rallying: New world champion Tanak leaves Toyota for Hyundai

FILE PHOTO: Jun 14, 2019; Castelsardo, Sardegna, Italy; WRC driver Ott Tanak (EST) races next to the Mediterranean Sea during Stage SS2-Tula of Rally Italia Sardega round 8 of the World Rally Championship. Mandatory Credit: Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports

LONDON (Reuters) - New world rally champion Ott Tanak announced on Thursday, four days after winning the title, that he was leaving Toyota to join rivals Hyundai next season.

The 32-year-old became the first Estonian to win the championship, along with co-driver Martin Jarveoja, in Spain on Sunday with one race to spare.

“We’ve been fighting closely against each other for a number of seasons. They have always had a competitive team and car, so now it will be interesting to see things from the other side,” Tanak said on Twitter.

He will link up at Hyundai with Belgian Thierry Neuville, nine-times world champion Sebastien Loeb and Spaniard Dani Sordo.

Hyundai are leading Toyota in the manufacturers’ standings by 18 points.

“We are involved in a very close fight for the title this season, and bringing Ott and Martin into the team from 2020 will enable us to continue to be at the forefront for the coming years,” said team boss Andrea Adamo.

Reporting by Alan Baldwin, editing by Pritha Sarkar

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