WRC: Ott Tänak
Significant history was written in the 2019 World Rally Championship too, as Estonian Ott Tänak became the first driver not called Sébastien to win the title for 17 years.
Two men have dominated the world’s special stages in the modern era. First, Citroën ace Sébastien Loeb gripped the sport by its throat to claim an incredible nine titles on the trot. Then French countryman Sébastien Ogier picked up the baton to win six in a row.
Ogier was bidding for a seventh crown in 2019 and to become the first rally driver since Juha Kankkunen to be champion for three different manufacturers, as he joined Citroën’s attack. But he fell short as Tänak won five rallies for Toyota to beat him to the title.
Then in moves that left the WRC reeling, Tänak quit Toyota to join Hyundai for 2020, and Ogier left Citroën to take his place in the Yaris – a decision that then triggered the French manufacturer to withdraw from the WRC with immediate effect, directly blaming the six-time champion for its departure.
Now the WRC has Tänak and Hyundai vs Ogier and Toyota to look forward to in 2020. It’s a prospect ripe with promise.