Hyundai Motorsport Has Big Plans for the 2023 WRC Season

Hyundai Motorsport 2023 WRC Roster  9 photos
Photo: Hyundai
Hyundai Motorsport 2023 WRC RosterHyundai Motorsport 2023 WRC RosterHyundai Motorsport 2023 WRC RosterHyundai Motorsport 2023 WRC RosterHyundai Motorsport 2023 WRC RosterHyundai Motorsport 2023 WRC RosterHyundai Motorsport 2023 WRC RosterHyundai Motorsport 2023 WRC Roster
Hyundai Motorsport has revealed its livery, roster, and ambitions for the 2023 FIA WRC season. For their tenth season in the sport, the South Koreans want to get both the drivers' and manufacturers' titles, which is what most of its competitors aim for at the beginning of the season. We are just going to write about Hyundai here, but we will follow up with Toyota and M-Sport once they announce their plans as well.
The last time Hyundai got the manufacturer's title in the FIA WRC was at the end of the 2020 season, which came after their maiden manufacturer's title back in 2019 after the cancellation of the final round.

In an effort to secure both titles in 2020, Hyundai signed Ott Tanak and Martin Jarveoja to its main team, but the two left the German-based racing team at the end of the 2021 season. Who knows, if they do not succeed in 2023, they might just try to switch it up yet again.

Sadly for Hyundai, none of its drivers ever managed to become a WRC Drivers' Champion, although the team has two consecutive manufacturer's titles. Back in 2020, Sebastien Ogier and his co-driver, Julien Ingrassia, had become the first-ever crew to win the World Rally Championship with three different manufacturers. The feat has yet to be surpassed, but Ogier has retired from competing full seasons in the WRC.

The only constant with the Hyundai team is Thierry Neuville, a 34-year-old Belgian racer who is the lead driver of the team. Thanks to his consistent results in 2019, the team was able to secure its first title, but he has yet to win the driver's championship.

Instead, Neuville was runner-up for the championship title from 2016 to 2019 in every season, then concluded the 2020 season in fourth place. As they say in motorsport, to finish first, first you have to finish.

The 2021 and 2022 seasons saw Neuville back on the pace, with two consecutive third finishes in the championship standings, four wins in 25 races, six third place finishes, and one second-place finish. His previous years were alternating retirements with wins and finishing away from the top ten.

Ever since 2018, Neuville has had six retirements from rallies and had just five finishes away from the top ten, which is not bad from a statistics standpoint, as well as the fact that he had to race eight-time World Rally Driver's Champion Sébastien Ogier all this time, along with the occasional competition from the most successful driver that the sport has ever seen, Sébastien Loeb.

It is fair to note that Thierry Neuville managed to come second in the championship after competing against Ott Tanak and Kalle Rovanpera, two other top-tier drivers, albeit with the mention that the latter did not have the same experience as the Belgian racer has.

In 2023, Hyundai's roster will continue to have Thierry Neuville as the lead driver, with Martijn Wydaeghe as his co-driver. Esapekka Lappi and Janne Ferm will be the second permanent team for the rest of the season, and they will race with the #11 and #4 cars, respectively.

The third Hyundai i20 N Rally 1 Hybrid entry will be split between Dani Sordo and Craig Breen. The Spaniard is joined by Candido Carrera in the #6 car, while the Irishman Breen will have James Fulton on his right while competing in the #42 car, which might as well be the answer to the most important question of all time.

The 2023 World Rally Championship will have 13 rounds and will start in Monte Carlo. Rally Mexico and Chile will make their comeback after the global pandemic, and the new Central European Rally will be the first to feature three countries in the same event – sounds like a logistics nightmare, but we still want to see it.

It is a maiden event for the WRC, as well, and it should be fun to watch from the sidelines, but difficult to spectate as you will need to move from one country to another with your rental car, locate the stages, get a good viewing spot, and then move on to the next.
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About the author: Sebastian Toma
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Sebastian's love for cars began at a young age. Little did he know that a career would emerge from this passion (and that it would not, sadly, involve being a professional racecar driver). In over fourteen years, he got behind the wheel of several hundred vehicles and in the offices of the most important car publications in his homeland.
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