Rally drivers Thierry Neuville and Esapekka Lappi will drive a full program in the WRC in 2023. That was already known from Neuville, but that Lappi will get a full season is a surprise. The third car is shared by Dani Sordo and Craig Breen, who returns to the team he left in 2021 after a failed season at Ford.
Jeroen DePauwSource: BELGA
Just hours after Toyota announced its drivers for 2023, Hyundai Motorsport also issued a press release about their drivers for next year. At Toyota, the Finnish world champion Kalle Rovanperä and the Briton Elfyn Evans will complete a full season with the hybrid Toyota Yaris Rally1. Thierry Neuville and Dani Sordo have been part of the team since 2014. The Belgian had a difficult season seasoned with numerous technical problems and some driver errors. After being the best in the rally in Greece earlier in the year, the Belgian won the final round of the World Cup in Japan last Sunday.
“We can look forward to next season in good spirits and with the necessary motivation, knowing that we have strong and experienced drivers,” says Neuville. “Esapekka is a great asset to our team and I am sure he will make an important contribution to our mission. It’s also nice to have Craig back, sharing a third car with Dani. It’s a good combination of familiar faces and new blood, which will certainly give us a boost at the start of a new campaign. Team spirit is a really important value at Hyundai Motorsport, with all members of the company contributing to our goals; with our confirmed crew line-up we are now in good shape heading into another championship year.”
Ott Tänak retired from the team and his seat is taken by Esapekka Lappi, who won the Rally Finland in his debut year in a Toyota in 2017. After that victory, Lappi could not confirm and left Toyota for Citröen. When that team went out of business, he went to Ford to return to Toyota this season, sharing the third car with Ogier. In 2023 he will start a new chapter in his career.
Craig Breen left Hyundai for Ford at the end of 2021, but he too could not convince. After a disappointing season, his two-year contract was terminated by mutual agreement, after which the Irishman returns to Hyundai. Dani Sordo feels good at Hyundai and is now part of the furniture, just like Neuville, with the difference that the Spaniard drives a limited program. With 182 world championship rallies to his credit, he is the most experienced driver in the championship.