Should Sordo be given more events in 2022?

Hyundai's part-timer is open to doing more rallies this season. Our team discusses whether he should


After yet another podium finish on the recent Rally Italy, Dani Sordo is interested in contesting more World Rally Championship rallies – but he won’t push hard for it.

Sordo has driven for Hyundai Motorsport ever since the manufacturer joined the WRC in 2014, but since 2018 he has only done so on a part-time basis – participating in no more than eight of the 13 rallies in any of the last four seasons.

This year he is sharing his car with Oliver Solberg and has competed on the last two events – Portugal and Italy – having missed the opening three rounds in Monte Carlo, Sweden and Croatia.

Solberg will return to the wheel on next week’s Safari Rally Kenya and the following Rally Estonia, and is widely expected to take on Rally Finland too. That means Sordo’s next possible rally could be Ypres Rally in mid-August – two months from now.

Hyundai’s strategy with its third car this year has been to build Solberg’s experience up while also utilizing Sordo’s knowledge and dependability. From a championship winning perspective, Sordo has looked the stronger bet in 2022 given he’s scored two third places compared to Solberg’s solitary sixth spot.

Asked by DirtFish if that meant his program could expand this year, Sordo said: “I will not try to push for more because this year, it’s like this and Oliver has his rallies.

“If he didn’t have a little bit more bad luck [he might have done better] … I would like to do more, but Oliver deserves it on other rallies also. So, let’s see.”

Would it make more sense for Sordo to get more rallies this season? We asked our writers for their verdicts:

Sordo is a manufacturers’ championship winner


How many World Rally Championships has Dani Sordo won? Wrong.

I’d shoot for five: three for Citroën and two for Hyundai. The Spaniard’s win ratio might not be the strongest, with three from 179 – but look beyond that. He’s been on the podium 53 times. That’s a top-three finish on almost every third event he’s started. If you can’t see the value in that, you’re not looking properly.

And it’s not like that podium appeal is diminishing – his last four rallies have ended with third place.

So, yes, Sordo should be doing more. He’s a manufacturers’ championship winner.

Is Hyundai going to win this year’s manufacturers’ championship? Julien Moncet and the other decision makers aren’t blind to Sordo’s ability and potential, but they’re also realists.

The ideal solution for Hyundai is to run Sordo on as many rallies as possible and Oliver Solberg in a third or fourth car on every event. Such a policy would generate points for the team and experience for the rising star.

Sadly for Hyundai Motorsport, the budget to run such a lineup isn’t at its disposal this season.

David Evans

Which play does Hyundai want to make?


In real terms, the equation is a Sordo-Solberg toss-up. The question is not which driver is better. The question is philosophical: short-term gain or long-term return?

Sordo has more world titles to his name than most drivers in WRC history. Not drivers’ crowns; manufacturers’ titles. A win and a podium at the tail-end of the 2020 season is a key reason Hyundai snatched the manufacturers’ title away from Toyota in Monza that year. Discounting rallies in which the car let him down and forced him to retire, Sordo has been on the podium in seven of his last nine WRC rounds.

In other words, Hyundai wouldn’t have its two manufacturers’ titles without him.

Look at the other side of the coin and you see the dilemma: Oliver Solberg is the franchise driver-in-waiting. Hyundai’s Kalle Rovanperä-esque bet on the future. But here’s the thing: Toyota did not make Kalle rotate.

He learned every rally, covering almost every mile available to him. There was no seat-sharing, and, for that, Toyota paid a price: the manufacturers’ championship fell from its grasp.

Only once all season did Rovanperä score manufacturers’ points for Toyota in 2020 without a retirement for either Sébastien Ogier or Elfyn Evans being a factor – Sweden, where he bagged his first career podium ahead of Ogier.

But look at him now. That loss of a world title in 2020 looks set to be handsomely repaid later this season and then some in years to come.

Therein lies the key question – which play does Hyundai want to make? Chase the manufacturers’ title at all costs now or stay the course and maximize Solberg’s development?

Luckily, Hyundai can play the waiting game. Because right now it doesn’t make sense for Sordo to show up again until Acropolis in September.

With no podium finishes in 10 attempts on Rally Finland and no Rally Estonias under his belt, it makes complete sense to leave him at home for now. Then comes Ypres – a rally Sordo has no experience on, but Solberg does. Again, leave him at home.

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But then comes Acropolis. The home stretch. Two gravel rallies with Sordo’s home event sandwiched in the middle.

Should Hyundai be a long, long way off Toyota by then, perhaps it’ll wave off any hope of closing the gap and focus on giving Solberg more Rally1 mileage. But should Hyundai get to Greece still within something resembling a reach of Toyota in the makes’ race, the play is clear: send Sordo to all four of them.

No-one in the full-time WRC field has Sordo’s level of knowledge of the Acropolis or New Zealand, two rallies the full-timers in the field have little to no experience on. He has nine WRC podiums in Spain. And if Hyundai reaches Japan with a shot at usurping Toyota, it’s imperative that it brings its fixer to the finale.

After all, who better to send on a mission to repeat 2020’s late-season heroics than the man who pulled it off the first time around?

Alasdair Lindsay

More for Sordo would nullify his benefits

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In a sense it’s hard to quantify what ‘more’ rallies means for Sordo, given those of us outside of Hyundai Motorsport don’t know how many rallies he is actually slated to do. It’s fairly plausible that Hyundai doesn’t even know either.

But, if given Julien Moncet’s job (and I must confess I don’t envy his task much at the moment) I wouldn’t be pushing to increase Sordo’s load. If Sordo was to take the lion’s share of the events from here, then why did Hyundai work hard to earn Solberg’s signature if he’s not going to be used very often?

Of course, Sordo’s contribution to Hyundai’s manufacturers’ bid is massive. The beauty from a team perspective is he all but guarantees a podium result and achieves it with no fuss and no personal agenda. Sordo is way past the point in his career where he’s stressing about the drivers’ championship. The manufacturers’ is all he’s focused on, while his team-mates talk the talk in this regard but are all in it for the drivers’ title; if that coincides with the manufacturers’ then that’s a bonus.


But overusing Sordo makes little sense. He’s an extremely capable rally driver in his own right, but it can’t be denied that a major factor in his astonishing run of WRC podiums is his low starting position on a Friday. If he begins to appear at more and more rallies, he will naturally begin to climb up the championship table and consequently the running order, surrendering this useful advantage.

And Solberg needs experience. It’s very clear that he can be a rally and potentially even title winning rally driver, but he has to be in the car to realize that full potential. Solberg himself is of course aware of the benefits of having Sordo in the car, but rewatch DirtFish’s Rally Italy preview video with Solberg and you could see it hurt him not to be getting ready for competition.

Increasing Sordo’s program and therefore decreasing Solberg’s would only feed that frustration and leave Solberg feeling like he had more and more to improve on each and every rally, which would inevitably lead to mistakes.

And while the argument that Sordo is a more reliable points scorer than Solberg certainly stacks up, Hyundai isn’t exactly short of world class talent capable of bringing home the points. You wouldn’t exactly call Thierry Neuville and Ott Tänak unreliable, would you?

Sordo is a brilliant asset, but a balancing act must be found whereby Hyundai gets the most out of him but doesn’t stunt Solberg’s development. Right now, in my opinion, Hyundai is managing that perfectly.

Luke Barry

The evidence is clear 


Well, this is a conundrum that could be argued all year long, isn’t it?

We all know Sordo is a safe pair of hands, and he’s already proven that in his first two WRC events this year. He arrived in Portugal faced with a brand-new car, new technology and much less seat time compared to almost everyone around him and he still claimed a podium. And to prove it wasn’t a fluke, he repeated the same result in Italy.

After a lackluster start to the Rally1 era, it’s exactly what Hyundai needed. Would Hyundai have achieved the same result had Oliver Solberg been behind the wheel? Given his recent form, you’d say probably not.


Hyundai has two star drivers in Thierry Neuville and Ott Tänak. There’s no doubt about that. But with the pair of them, there’s risk vs reward. They are pushing for rally wins, to fight for the title and bring Toyota’s seemingly never-ending reign as the fastest WRC team to an end.

Pushing to that level inherently means they are bound to make mistakes at times, have crashes and run into issues, all because they are pushing themselves and their machines to the absolute limit.

Sordo doesn’t need to worry about that. He’s there to hoover up the points, something he can do to great effect.

As my colleague Alasdair put it, Hyundai needs to decide if it wants short-term gain or long-term return.

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As things stand, I’d look for short-term gain. There’s plenty of evidence to show that Solberg still has so much to improve on, and that can be easily achieved in WRC2. Let’s be honest, his form in the second tier isn’t exactly stellar, so some time there to learn his trade and build consistency could be the best thing for him. And all the while, Sordo can be deployed to ensure Hyundai brings home a decent points haul week in, week out.

Hyundai needs to get itself back on track as fast as possible, there’s no two ways about that. And that could be achieved much faster with Sordo than without him.

We all know Solberg is the future for Hyundai, but in this moment, it needs someone that can perform for it now. And beyond Neuville and Tänak, Sordo is the only driver in Hyundai’s armory capable of achieving what it needs.

Now is the perfect time for Hyundai to change strategy, send the Spaniard into battle and give itself the best chance of getting back into the championship battle. For me, the evidence is clear, so what is Hyundai waiting for?

Rob Hansford