Should Sordo stay in the WRC beyond 2022?

Dani Sordo says Rally Spain will help him decide his future, but what be his best course of action? Here's our verdict

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D-day is looming for Dani Sordo. To borrow the words The Clash made famous, he is currently asking himself: ‘Should I stay or should I go now?’

Sordo’s been in the World Rally Championship’s top division ever since 2006, and remains as competitive as ever with five consecutive third place finishes stretching back to 2021.

But his WRC appearances are becoming increasingly more fleeting, and he harbors concerns that he hasn’t quite been as fast as he should be this season considering his strong starting position at the back of the field.

Sordo has told DirtFish that his home event, Rally Spain, next month will help inform his decision as to whether he stays in the WRC, or goes on to pastures new. Italian media meanwhile has reported that Sordo will do an even bigger program next year than he has this season.

So what should he do? What would be the right move for Sordo? What would be the ideal scenario for Hyundai? We put these questions to our writers, and here are their thoughts:

Hyundai still needs Sordo

Dani Sordo’s ability to remain relevant at the very top of the World Rally Championship is as impressive as his ability to bring points and to help win titles.

The two are, of course, entirely linked.


I’ve reported on every twist, turn and triumph of the Spaniard’s WRC career and wonder, like the rest of you, what lies beyond Catalunya next month.

Were it me sitting at the desk behind the door labelled ‘Hyundai Motorsport team principal’ I would be inviting Dani back for another season.

Why? Simple, since Rally México in 2020, Sordo’s started 12 WRC rounds in an i20. He’s won one and been on the podium eight times; third on every occasion he’s graced the factory car this year.

That’s reason enough.

If a manufacturer has title aspirations, it needs a Dani Sordo.

Few drivers have accepted their role as points provider as wholeheartedly as the likeable 39-year-old. It wasn’t always that way. In the late 2000s, there was the odd grumble when he had to step aside for Sébastien Loeb – but let’s face it, that didn’t happen too often.

His consistency could be in danger of masking his outright performance and professionalism. One rally stands out as a demonstration of all three character traits: Argentina, 2012.

Parachuted into an M-Sport Ford Fiesta RS WRC after Jari-Matti Latvala broke his collarbone while skiing, Sordo was running a strong third on his debut in the car and was only robbed of another podium when the alternator failed on the final stage.


Sordo has the ability and the speed to remain a podium threat on a limited program of events next season and that cannot be overlooked.

That’s decision one taken. Decision two would be to give Oliver Solberg a full season in a third – and on occasion – fourth i20.

This is, of course, assuming Ott Tänak’s still in place. Who’s to say, Sordo doesn’t return for a full season alongside Thierry Neuville and Solberg?

Actually, let’s shut that can of worms for now…

David Evans

Sordo doesn’t need to stop


Is Rally Spain 2022 the last we’ll see of Dani Sordo in the WRC? It seems like a very real possibility that we’ll shortly be arriving at the final time control of his career.

There is no doubt whatsoever that Sordo has done exactly the job that Hyundai needed him to do. His task is to bank 15 points or more for the manufacturers’ championship, come hell or high water. And he’s done that five times in a row now.

If, hypothetically, Ott Tänak was not to return to the wheel of an i20 N Rally1 next season, Hyundai will absolutely need him once more. Oliver Solberg may well move up to car number two in that situation and having a reliable points scorer would be more crucial than ever. There is no driver who I’d trust more to get a Rally1 car to the finish line in one piece than Sordo.

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But this five-in-a-row podium streak Sordo is on belies his true form somewhat.

What he’s done well in 2022 is making no mistakes and keeping his head screwed on when others have lost theirs – a highly valuable trait for a driver whose primary job function is to be the world’s best insurance policy. And when he needed to push to catch Takamoto Katsuta in Portugal, he got the job done.

But on pace alone, it’s not been a particularly great season. When he stepped into the new Rally1 car on a championship event for the first time, he struggled to adapt to the extra power and how it affected traction at lower speeds.

His pace wasn’t particularly great in Greece either considering his road position – Sébastien Loeb and Esapekka Lappi would very likely have finished ahead and relegated Sordo to fifth without their respective reliability woes.

And that’s exactly why Sordo has hung his future on how Spain goes. Turning up to events knowing you’re unlikely to have the pace to fight for silverware on pace alone is not fun. He’s said multiple times this year that some of his podiums have needed a fair dose of luck to materialize – and that he wants to get those results by fighting others head-to-head, not waiting for the others to hit trouble.

Like any driver at motorsport’s elite level, you need to feel the fire ignited within you to be willing to push for the final tenth of a second. Lose that impetus and it’s hard to get it back.

If he feels his well of pace and bravery is finally beginning to run dry, retiring after one last hurrah at home is a great way to go.

But if 39-year-old Dani still has the same drive and desire to go searching for every last tenth, and feels he can make the i20 N Rally1 do what he wants it to, there’s no reason to hang up the helmet just yet.

Alasdair Lindsay

It’s better to retire on top

Experience is the common theme lingering in the air in the World Rally Championship of late.


Sébastien Loeb returning to the WRC and whitewashing the field on multiple stages is proof alone that it is a precious commodity this year. And it is not all that different with Sordo.

Despite being 39 years old, and competing in a bit-part season, he’s still managed to find the podium on every round he’s contested.

He might not possess the overall pace of rivals around him, but it’s his wiley approach, keeping things clean and waiting for others to falter that has made him a great asset for Hyundai in what is an otherwise turbulent year for the team.

But just because experience is paying dividends now, it doesn’t mean it will be that way forever.

Loeb might be defying the odds with nine years more on Sordo, but there comes a time when a driver reaches that performance cliff and then everything descends into a downward spiral.

For me, it’s always better when a driver bows out while on top.

There’s every argument that Sordo should hang around and wait to see whether Tänak decides to bail on Hyundai at the end of the year, since Sordo is arguably the driver that should replace him, given Solberg’s form suggests he’s not quite ready to mount a full championship battle.

But then again, neither is Sordo.

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He’s a driver that grounds out decent and consistent results rally after rally, but it’s also clear that there’s no way he possesses the same kind of pace as Thierry Neuville, Kalle Rovanperä and Elfyn Evans when they are on it.

There’s also no guarantee that experience will provide such an advantage next year.

And let’s face it, is there a better way than to bow out with a stellar performance on your home event? Probably not.

Timing is everything in sport, and this could be the perfect time to bow out gracefully and hang up his WRC helmet for good.

Rob Hansford

He should have made his decision already

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As Rob said, there’s a right time to stop, and there’s definitely a wrong time to stop. No matter when Dani Sordo decides to call time on his WRC career, he has more than earned the right to choose. But if I was him, I’d struggle to look past a Rally Spain farewell as the perfect way to say goodbye.

Deciding whether to continue based on his Spanish performance (his first rally on Tarmac with a Rally1 car) does make a degree of sense, as that way Sordo will know if he feels he is able to perform at the level he deems high enough next season. But there’s a very big risk attached.

If it does transpire that Spain is Sordo’s final WRC round, then heading into it without any of his legions of fans knowing that’s the case spoils what would otherwise have been an emotional and passionate celebration of what Sordo has given the WRC. It would be a very sad and unfitting way to go if in the aftermath of the rally, Sordo reveals he won’t be coming back.

As it stands, there’s no concrete evidence to suggest 2022 will be the last of Sordo in the WRC. There’s certainly no evidence to suggest he’s not good enough to warrant another season in 2023.

But dig a little deeper and it seems to me that this is a driver who is preparing for the end. He’s sampled the Rally1 cars, he’s added yet more trophies to the cabinet and, after Spain, he’ll have given it one last shot to win his home rally too. After all, this is no new conversation. Rumors surfaced as early as last year that this could be his last year – and while not all gossip is accurate, they do say there’s no smoke without fire.

Ultimately Sordo will know what’s best for him. He probably already has an inkling, he just needs Rally Spain to confirm it. I wish he didn’t. I wish we were preparing for a Sordo bonanza where he could feel the love and respect from fans, colleagues and rivals alike, and head into his 40s knowing that he retired from the WRC at the top of his game and ready for a new challenge – whatever that may be.

Luke Barry