Ott Tanak looks set to end speculation in his World Rally Championship future by signing a renewed deal with Toyota, with a deal expected after Rally Germany.
Tanak left M-Sport to drive for Toyota in 2018, and narrowly missed out on the WRC title last season after a late run of victories failed to undo his troublesome start to the year.
Both M-Sport and Hyundai have both expressed interest in signing the Estonian for 2020, but Autosport understands that the WRC championship leader will stick with the team also leading the manufacturers’ championship.
“We are discussing and quite seriously,” said Tanak of his future.
“It’s still open, but I hope we can find a solution.
“I’d like to make a decision soon, there’s been a lot of talks this week and it would be nice to have it done around Germany.”
Asked if he was confident of keeping Tanak, Toyota team principal and four-time WRC champion Tommi Makinen said: “I would say, yes.
“If I am thinking from the driver’s point of view, the package [at Toyota] is really safe for him.
“He is so well welded together with the car and there is nothing he needs to learn again.
“He knows exactly how to drive the car in every condition.
“When you jump to the new car you need to learn it again, you don’t do it immediately, it always takes time to learn new car how to go fast – now you just concentrate to doing your work yourself.
“If I am looking at the bigger picture for him, staying with us is the biggest way to guarantee success.”
Tanak heads to Rally Germany on August 22-25 after winning Rally Finland, a double he also managed last year despite the switch from gravel to asphalt.
It is understood Kalle Rovanpera has secured a seat with Toyota in the WRC next year, with the rest of the squad uncertain. Its current line-up includes Kris Meeke and Jari-Matti Latvala alongside Tanak.
But Latvala and Meeke both face uncertain futures after squandering podium positions in Finland due to errors.
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While a Tanak-to-Hyundai move seems unlikely now, Craig Breen’s cameo with the squad has put him in contention for further outings and a seat with the squad next year.