Hyundai Motorsport team principal Andrea Adamo has indicated to DirtFish that his 2022 World Rally Championship driver line-up will be solidified after Rally Finland next month.
Hyundai was the first team to move in the driver market, extending the contracts of both Thierry Neuville and Ott Tänak back in May. But since then, news of who will drive its third car has been limited, with Toyota and particularly M-Sport being the biggest sources of speculation.
Currently Craig Breen and Dani Sordo share the responsibility of driving Hyundai’s third works entrant, but Breen is widely tipped to be heading to M-Sport to drive a Puma Rally1 in 2022.
Sordo has been with Hyundai ever since it rejoined the WRC in 2014, while the manufacturer also has junior drivers Oliver Solberg and Jari Huttunen on its books. Of those two, Solberg appears the likelier to land a Rally1 future – and he will drive an i20 Coupe WRC on Rally Spain in October.
Speaking to DirtFish’s Colin Clark after the Acropolis Rally, Adamo said next year’s driver line-up was a “matter of discussion” when asked who was being considered to drive an i20 Rally1.
“We have the two top drivers [Neuville and Tänak] who luckily are there and luckily are working hard and luckily are covering our gaps, and for which I think that I have not enough capability to [say] thank you,” Adamo said.
“I think that after Finland we [will] decide what to do [with the other car] because also in this I have many thoughts and many doubts.”
Quizzed if Hyundai would retain its policy of sharing driving duties of the third car or handing the seat to a driver on a full-time basis, Adamo said the “complicated” nature of the hybrid Rally1 car might sway the team towards the latter.
“I’m not sure [of] the real move to do because from what I understood, it’s why I’m taking a bit more time, next year’s car will be a different beast from the current ones honestly,” he explained.
“And I have to say, quite more complicated to use with strategies with the way to manage the hybrid and so and so, so I don’t know if sometimes the [lower] road position in the first leg will be an advantage so big in respect to the knowledge of the car.
“You have potentially more grip or whatever but you are not used to using the car or you don’t know all the tricks or the car or really you are not so good to manage the car, you lose the opportunity [to capitalize].
“And I think also that for some reason we have to investigate, also this year the road position looks like it’s not been so useful.”
Hyundai’s Rally1 program has been less public than M-Sport and Toyota’s, and the team only had board confirmation that it would be continuing in the WRC in late March.
The bodywork is not representative of anything, we prefer to stay a bit hiddenAndrea Adamo on the 2022 Rally1 car
However, just because there haven’t been as many social media clips or images of the new i20 testing, it doesn’t mean it hasn’t been put through its paces, with a test having taken place on Wednesday.
“The fact is that we are testing for sure, it’s not a matter of if we are not testing, but it’s also true we don’t have many things to show,” Adamo admitted.
“The bodywork and the other things are not really representative of anything, we prefer to stay a bit hidden.
“I really think that we can get something ready to show in November.