Getting to know WRC’s ‘most improved driver’

Grégoire Munster's profile has rocketed in the last few months - and now a Rally1 drive could be looming


Receiving a trophy before a single competitive kilometer of World Rally Championship action certainly isn’t the norm, but there’s been nothing normal about the past few months in the life of Grégoire Munster.

Turning a first stage disaster into an impeccable breakthrough WRC2 win in Japan, Munster’s name was on the map – and soon he was on the move.

Alongside the confirmation that Adrien Fourmaux would be stepping down to WRC2 with M-Sport in 2023, up popped Munster’s name as Fourmaux’s new team-mate in a Ford Fiesta Rally2.

Then he shocked everyone by appearing on the entry list for the Junior WRC’s opening round in Sweden earlier this month too, before DirtFish revealed that he could be in for some Rally1 drives later in the year as well.

There’s certainly never been as much attention on Munster’s career as there is right now.

“Yeah I think for sure it helps to get a bit more attention from media, from sponsors and from teams in general,” Munster tells DirtFish.

“And I think that’s also why we managed to sort a deal with M-Sport and it’s also just a confidence boost; you know you can perform at that level and you just have to align every aspect to make it work.”

And that’s where Munster’s trophy ceremony on the eve of the Monte Carlo Rally comes in.

The 24-year-old was voted the most improved WRC driver of 2022 by rally fans – staving off competition from Toyota’s Takamoto Katsuta, WRC2 champion Emil Lindholm and even the World Rally champion Kalle Rovanperä to the prize.

“For me it’s a good confidence boost having the spectators, the public recognize you doing well,” Munster admits.

“I don’t think myself that I’m the most improved driver, I think we are working to make it happen and continuing to evolve.


“We’ll just continue like we did, try to find ways to improve and I think when you work hard then it pays off.”

Munster is a driver that’s been a feature in the WRC’s support class for a little while now, but that Rally Japan win may well be his eureka moment.

Carving over a minute out of everybody on a single stage on that soaking final day of the season, Munster made full use of the right tires to claim a standout win – and suddenly now everybody’s paying attention to him.

Munster Grégoire ,  Louka Louis

He’s always been a driver that most WRC fans were aware of, but that victory – plus a place in M-Sport’s lineup – has made him one we all want to know more about. So that’s exactly what DirtFish did.

“I started driving in 2017 but mostly driving in Germany with an Opel Adam Cup, the access formula to drive rally,” shares Munster, who’s father is 1995 Belgian champion Bernard Munster.

“Since two years now we are doing a bit of World Rally Championship but with [just] our budget so it’s always complicated to do many events and get in the rhythm.

“Also [we have] just [been] lacking experience on all these new rallies we never done before, so yeah I think we are always improving.”

Munster’s always been a driver with great potential though, so much so that he became a Hyundai Customer Racing junior in 2020.


“I think our results are also always showing that we are evolving and getting better,” he says.

“It’s difficult to say because you always take drivers as comparison points but for example if you take someone like Oliver Solberg or Kalle Rovanperä these guys were in the car since they are 10 or 11 years old so it’s difficult to compare.

“I waited until I had my driving license before I could drive a rally car so it’s step by step with our budget, trying to do as many rallies as possible and grab experience.”

And 2023 is no exception. Even now that he’s driving for M-Sport, there’s no plan to suddenly become WRC2 champion this term.

Instead, Munster’s aim is to continue building his experience.

“I think the team really want myself and Adrien Fourmaux to be consistent, score points and at the end see if we can battle for the team championship,” he explains.

“And then for us as drivers we want to first grab a top five and then aim for a podium. We’ll have a nice season – it’s the first time we have a complete program where we’re sure we will drive all these events and grab experience on rallies I’ve never done before.

“For example we will go to Portugal and Sardinia – they’re very well known rallies, a lot of drivers did it more than a couple of times, but for us it will be a first.

“So yeah, it’s more about experience, a learning process and trying to get the most out of it.”

Which explains Munster’s surprise JWRC appearance in Sweden. Snow was an entirely new surface for him, so he decided entering the event was important – but he wanted to do so in a Rally3 Fiesta rather than Rally2 which he felt would be more “incognito”.

Munster reasons: “Sweden was really a way to discover that new surface without driving directly with the Rally2 and experienced guys.

“With Junior WRC I think it was a good way to learn a bit more incognito, I would say.

“It was amazing. It looks a bit like gravel but the grip is a bit exponential when the studs really enter that thick ice.

“I also experienced some snowbanks and lost quite a lot of time there,” he chuckles. “They were a bit softer than what they might be so when you lean a bit too much into them you get caught and that was a bit what happened.

WRC 2023

“But we were there for experience, driving the Rally3 just for that one time so it was a good experience, a good access to four-wheel drive.”

The one-off JWRC appearance (where he finished fourth) will therefore remain a footnote in Munster’s season. So far he’s completed one of his seven rounds that matter – Monte Carlo – where the Fiesta struggled for pace and Munster finished a forgettable eighth.

“I think the conditions, really dry condition, and the type of stage we found in Monte Carlo was not suiting the car so well,” he candidly says, “but I’m really looking forward to the next events.”

And so he should, as competing for a team like M-Sport isn’t a privilege all drivers can enjoy.

WRC 2023

“I think first of all their experience,” he says when asked why he decided to join.

“At Hyundai they are also in the World Rally Championship but most of the program is run by another team, like 2C [Compétition] now.

“So you don’t really work with Hyundai directly, it’s mostly in another team, while at M-Sport you are directly with the same mechanics, the same engineers, your car is at the factory.

“I feel it’s a bit more compact and also they are the team that gives the most chance to drivers. You see guys like Elfyn Evans, Thierry Neuville, Ott Tänak, they all went through M-Sport to get to where they are now.

“It’s maybe a little bit of a smaller team compared to Hyundai or to Toyota but they have more experience and they give more chance to young people. So I think that was a fair choice.”


And, of course, it further aligns him with Jourdan Serderidis – a personal backer of Munster’s – which is particularly key as Serderidis is at the heart of Munster’s potential Rally1 chance this year.

Up first though, Munster will actually co-drive for Serderidis on next weekend’s Malcolm Wilson Rally in the UK as Serderidis gets some miles in ahead of Rally México.

“For sure it will be very nice,” Munster smiles.

“Jourdan takes every rally more like a hobby – he always wants to do well but it’s good fun in the car so I’m looking forward to it.

“I’m also looking forward to reading the pacenotes – this is something I can handle, it’s more about the timing, that’s not the best characteristic of the driver!”

Munster will have plenty of opportunities to further prove what his best characteristics are this year though.

He insists he’s not thinking too much about any possible Rally1 outing that may come his way; instead pouring his concentration into his Rally2 program.

But that’s one hell of a carrot to dangle in front of a driver to inspire them to perform.

With all due respect to the award he picked up at the start of the year, being awarded the seat in a Rally1 car may just mean that bit more to Munster come the end of the year.

Words:Luke Barry