Hyundai Motorsport is powering into a brand-new era of the FIA World Rally Championship (WRC) with its Hyundai i20 N Rally1 challenger and a four-crew line-up that is intent on delivering more success for the team in 2022.
As two-time manufacturers’ champions, Hyundai has reaffirmed its commitment to the WRC by fully embracing the sport’s new Rally1 hybrid regulations, which come into effect from Rallye Monte-Carlo (January 20-23).
The team has worked tirelessly to develop its new contender for its ninth season at the pinnacle of international rallying, carrying out an intensive test and development programme. Based on the Hyundai i20 N road car, the WRC version will further cement the link between motorsport and Hyundai’s production car technology, as the team targets more victories and championship titles in 2022.
President of Hyundai Motorsport Scott Noh said: “We are excited to be part of this new hybrid era of WRC and to demonstrate Hyundai’s firm commitment to international motorsport. WRC is about putting the most technically advanced cars, driven and navigated by the best crews, on the world’s toughest stages: the 2022 season is set to take things to the next level. Furthermore, from a corporate perspective, it is important for Hyundai to be associated with road-relevant technology; the WRC move to hybrid brings together the brand’s motorsport and road car activities. We are confident we have the package to fight for our third manufacturers’ title – and to support our crews to be in the hunt for the drivers’/co-drivers’ titles too.”
At the helm of the Hyundai i20 N Rally1 cars for all rounds of the 2022 championship will be the team’s rally-winning crews Thierry Neuville/Martijn Wydaeghe and Ott Tänak/Martin Järveoja. Both will be keen to make an impression in the title chase after mixed fortunes in 2021.
Neuville will be aiming to add to his victory tally in 2022, with the Belgian now boasting 15 WRC wins entering his ninth year with Hyundai Motorsport. In his first season with co-driver Wydaeghe, the pair quickly established a potent partnership that amassed two victories and a total of seven podiums. In their third campaign with the Alzenau-based team, the Estonians will be the only world champions competing in all rounds of the 2022 season. The crew has performed strongly in its first two years with the team, taking two wins and eight podium finishes in 2020 and 2021.
A third Hyundai i20 N Rally1 will be shared throughout the season by Swedish rising star Oliver Solberg, who steps up to the manufacturer team after demonstrating exciting pace in selected rounds last season, and experienced Spaniard Dani Sordo. Solberg will be co-driven by Elliott Edmondson, while Sordo begins his ninth season as a Hyundai Motorsport driver in 2022 alongside Cándido Carrera.
Crews will tackle a 13-round calendar covering the WRC’s usual mix of terrain – gravel, tarmac, snow, and ice – with returning favourites and new additions. Rally New Zealand and Rally Japan are set to make their belated debut, having been forced to relinquish their rally for the past two seasons due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Hyundai Motorsport Team Manager Pablo Marcos said: “We are fortunate to have one of the most versatile crew line-ups in WRC to tackle one of the most eclectic calendars we have seen in recent years. We hope that the unique combination of Thierry, Ott, Oliver and Dani will bring us the right mix of experience, youth, and passion to deliver the results we’ve worked so hard to achieve. It is a case of third time lucky for the new events in New Zealand and Japan, to which we have been looking forward for some time. There’s a lot of intrigue and unknown for the 2022 season, which will keep WRC front of mind for motorsport fans around the world.”
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