Ott Tanak will switch to the Toyota Gazoo Racing squad for the 2018 World Rally Championship, replacing Juho Hanninen in the team’s driver line-up.

Tanak is currently contesting the 2017 WRC drivers’ title against M-Sport Ford team-mate Sebastien Ogier and Hyundai’s Thierry Neuville and for next season makes the move to the all-Finnish Toyota squad alongside Jari-Matti Latvala and Esapekka Lappi.

Toyota team principal Tommi Makinen is thrilled to secure Tanak having admired his talents for a number of years and feels the Estonian driver gives the team a useful balance between youth and experience.

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“We’re delighted to have secured the services of Ott, having had our eyes on him for a while,” Makinen said. “He represents the perfect blend of youth and experience, together with the right sort of mental attitude that means he will fit into our team very well.”

Toyota has also seen changes in its management structure with the outgoing Hanninen’s co-driver Kaj Lindstrom becoming the team’s new sporting director after Jarmo Lehtinen stepped away from the role in August.

Lindstrom was Toyota team principal Makinen’s co-driver at Subaru in 2002 and 2003 and now re-join forces as the key management at Toyota. Lindstrom will take up his new role for this year’s final round in Australia to give early preparations for the 2018 season.

“Like the Yaris WRC, Ott has exceeded all expectations this year, so I’m sure it will be a strong partnership with both speed and consistency on all surfaces,” Lindstrom said.