13 Jan 2020
Ott Tänak has entered into a partnership with US-based rally school DirtFish for his World Rally Championship title defence with Hyundai Motorsport.
The Estonian, who joined the Korean manufacturer over the winter after claiming his maiden crown with Toyota will sport DirtFish branding on both his racing suit, helmet, and cap during all 14 rounds of the 2020 WRC season. as well as the new partnership, it was also announced today that Tanak will shun the #1 in favour of keeping the #8 on his car during his title defence.
“I first met Steve [Rimmer, DirtFish owner] when I drove one of his cars at Goodwood in 2010,” said Tanak. “Steve is one of the most enthusiastic people I’ve ever met in the sport and that’s the same for everybody in the DirtFish family.”
“I’m looking forward to working with them and I am really looking forward to my first trip to DirtFish in Seattle later this year – remember, every day is a school day.”
“It’s really nice to be taking the WRC to North America a little bit,” added 12-time WRC rally winner. “I know that rallying is quite small over there, but I hope this deal can help show it to some more people.”
DirtFish’s partnership with Tanak is arguably its biggest branding exercise on a global level to-date and is part of a plan to not only grow the appeal of rallying in North America, but also broaden the reach of the DirtFish brand.
The company, based near Seattle, Washington, has had a sizeable presence in US national rally and rallycross for several years. It has also been involved in the globally-released Dirt video game series from Codemasters and had its branding also appear in Project CARS 2.
“The chance to work with a world champion like Ott was, quite simply, too good an opportunity to miss,” said DirtFish owner Steve Rimmer. “We’ve known Ott for a few years now and working alongside him is something we are very, very excited about. DirtFish joins him at a fascinating time in his career as he begins the defence of his maiden WRC title.”
The tie-up with Tanak is just the beginning of a wider global expansion being teased by DirtFish, with more details set to be revealed soon.
“We have to be clear here: this is much more than a straight commercial agreement,” said Rimmer. “DirtFish has some very big plans related to the World Rally Championship and you’ll be seeing more on those in the coming weeks.”
“The intention is to raise awareness of this incredible sport and championship in the United States. There is a strong rallying community here in America and DirtFish plays a large, fundamental role in the sport. However, we want to see that continue to grow and grow. Historically, rallying hasn’t been at its most prominent in America – but we shouldn’t forget this country has run five WRC rounds with the Press on Regardless and Olympus Rallies – and we want to change that.”
“We’re looking to work very closely with WRC Promoter to provide a platform through which we can introduce Ott and the WRC to North America.”