1981 FIA World Rally Champion Ari Vatanen says both Ott Tänak and Sebastien Ogier are in “good positions” going into the 2020 season and that Tanak is “happy” with the Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC.
Speaking at the Autosport International show in Birmingham, Vatanen believes that both drivers should be again fighting at the top of the standings and said: “I think both Ogier and Tänak are in good positions next year.”
“I wonder if Tommi Mäkinen was thinking if he was in trouble when Tänak left his team last year, but I know he’ll be pleased he’s signed both Ogier and Elfyn Evans, who has got what he deserves this year after driving very well recently with M-Sport.”
“I’ve spoke to Ott – he’s very happy with the Hyundai although I don’t know why he’s moved from Toyota. Maybe he didn’t enjoy the car or something, I don’t really know, but I’m glad to see both him and Ogier still in the championship, and in different cars and teams. It was very sad that we lost Citroën but I’m sure Ogier will do anything this year to win his seventh title.”
Vatanen also spoke about his fellow Finn Esapekka Lappi and his thoughts on his move to M-Sport for 2020. He added: “Lappi’s move to M-Sport was the best that could of happened to him after Citroën leaving. He left Toyota and then who would have thought that Citroen would pull out a year later.”
“That happened then suddenly a young driver like Lappi was without a drive. So I’m happy both him and Teemu Suninen are at M-Sport this year and still continue in the championship and I think they both have the skill to be fighting near the front for years to come.”
2020 will also see a shakeup to the calendar in the WRC with one of the new events being a return to Kenya and Vatanen, who regularly took part in the mammoth original event, was asked of his thoughts on the upcoming 2020 edition: “The engineers are amazing they can convert the cars to anything that needs be in today’s championship.” he said.
“So when compared to my day, we went all around Kenya and it was completely different to what next year’s event will be like. It’ll will be a lot more refined and the organisers can make sure the route is a lot better and more condensed than in my day!”
The opening round of the 2020 FIA World Rally Championship, Rally Monte-Carlo, takes place between January 23-26.