Hyundai Motorsport has signed multi-year contracts with its World Rally Championship drivers Theirry Neuville and Ott Tanak.
Neuville and Tanak will drive Hyundai’s Rally1 challenger in 2022 with the team’s test programme for WRC’s hybrid era set to commence in the coming months.
Hyundai’s press release hinted at the importance of securing its lead drivers’ services for WRC’s technical regulation change.
“Confirming those driver contracts already in May allows the Alzenau-based squad to efficiently execute the development of the brand-new challenger for WRC’s hybrid era as a team.
“The prototype, based on the Hyundai i20 N road car, will enter the testing phase in the near future.”
Neuville has enjoyed a steady start to his eighth season with Hyundai, scoring three podiums from 2021’s first three world rallies.
Tanak is fourth in WRC’s drivers’ standings after Croatia Rally, two places behind his Belgian team-mate. The Estonian’s dominant Arctic Rally Finland win is bookended by two tough weekends in tarmac trim.
“Since 2020, we have shared many special moments together,” said Tanak, “as well as working through some more difficult times.
“Over the past two years I have seen the team’s commitment and determination to succeed and I am sure that each and every one will continue to push the limits.”
The announcement from Hyundai did not mention the status of its third Rally1 seat which is currently shared between Craig Breen and Dani Sordo.
The Korean manufacturer also has the strongest portfolio of junior drivers featuring Oliver Solberg, Pierre-Louis Loubet, and Ole Christian Veiby.
It was revealed earlier this week that Hyundai had signed experienced rally car designer Christian Loriaux ahead of WRC’s new generation of cars.
Loriaux will work as Hyundai Motorsport’s engineering consultant for 50% of his working time. The rest of his time will be spent in the racing side of M-Sport’s business. Loriaux has worked on M-Sport’s Bentley project since its introduction in 2013.
Photos by Hyundai Motorsport