Hyundai’s surprising revelation about its 2024 WRC targets

The South Korean brand has set itself some intriguing goals ahead of the new season


It’s not so often that a press release takes you by surprise. Tuesday’s did. The mailbox missive from Frankfurt required a read. A re-read. And then another one.

For the avoidance of doubt, Hyundai Motorsport’s 2024 focus is on the drivers’ title. It says so in the bullet points and in the introduction.

Here, have a look for yourself:

  • Hyundai Motorsport is ready to take on more rally wins and a fight for the drivers’ crown as the team prepares for its 11th season in the FIA World Rally Championship (WRC)

And then:

January 16, 2024 – Hyundai Motorsport is prepared to push for the drivers’ title in 2024, its eleventh year competing in the FIA World Rally Championship (WRC). With a bolstered squad of crews and upgrades to the Hyundai i20 N Rally1 Hybrid, the team is aiming to secure more victories and points during the upcoming season.


As always, the release is a beautifully crafted piece of literature, but the admission that the drivers’ title is the priority is… well, it’s unorthodox. Manufacturers are usually after the makes’ title first with the drivers’ crown seen largely as an added bonus.

Let’s be honest, since his arrival as team principal last season, Cyril Abiteboul has kept the WRC service park on its toes. He’s never swerved a question and his answers have rarely been anything other than entertaining.

Abiteboul knows his onions. Years in Formula 1 have hardened him to the media’s game. He’s ready to play.

Remember just before Japan, when he told DirtFish he felt the team had shipped 200 points through the season.

“Two hundred,” he repeated, pausing to add: “That’s going to be some headline for you…”

There was a wry smile and that slightly tilt of the head; tilt angle can usually be equated to potential for scepticism.


He’s a character and the WRC needs more of them.

So what was his take in the release?

“This year,” said Cyril, “we want to target more frequent wins, which we hope to achieve with our refreshed driver line-up and improved Hyundai i20 N Rally1 Hybrid.”

Got it. We have that one here.


“Also,” he continued, “given the nature of the 2024 season, we believe we can fight for the drivers’ title.”

If DirtFish’s style guide allowed the use of the word ‘boom’ with an exclamation mark following, we’d probably deploy that here. As it doesn’t, we won’t.

Abiteboul: “Ott had unfinished business with the team, and once we started talking, we realised there was a mutual interest to finish it. Alongside Thierry, we have two drivers capable of claiming the crown.

“In our third car, we wanted to reward crews that we felt deserved the opportunity, as all three have shown loyalty to the team as well as impressive pace and ability over the past years.

“Bringing in talent in a number of areas, such as new engineers, mechanics, weather and sporting personnel, also strengthens the overall team as we look to push forward this year. Success in 2024 will be our focus and we are confident that we have the right pieces in place for this to be a reality. In addition, we also have a plan that looks forward into 2025 and 2026 that we intend to execute.”

I didn’t like to interrupt him again, but that line about the third car rewarding loyal crews was fascinating. Again, no mention of the need to Hoover up any spare points in the makes’ race.

Esapekka Lappi, Andreas Mikkelsen and Dani Sordo should print that release off and keep it in their pocket – it’ll come in useful if and when they’re leading Neuville or Tänak into the final day…



I like it. I like the element of mischief and mutiny when it comes to a manufacturers’ usual pre-season proclamations.

We’re in for a fascinating year watching Hyundai’s 2024 roll out. And don’t forget, keep an eye on that tilt angle.