What kind of driver does Hyundai want?

Does it need a fast driver to match Neuville, or a reliable points scorer instead? Julien Moncet explains


Hyundai deputy team director Julien Moncet says the team must find the “right balance” with who it recuits to partner Thierry Neuville in next year’s World Rally Championship.

With Oliver Solberg being dropped and Ott Tänak confirming he won’t be at Hyundai next year, there’s been plenty of rumors regarding who will take the two vacant seats in 2023.

As previously reported by DirtFish, Esapekka Lappi is set to be taking one of those drives for next year, but that still leaves one car up for grabs.

Everyone will have their own opinion as to who should join Hyundai next year, and the majority of people will no doubt pick the driver they think is fastest.

Moncet doesn’t disagree with that thought process, although there is another element that he thinks needs factoring in when deciding who the most suitable driver would be.

“The fastest driver obviously,” Moncet joked when DirtFish asked what the best kind of driver would be.

“No of course, you need the strong drivers. The car has to be competitive but without results from drivers there is nothing you can achieve.

“So we have to find the right balance of someone who’s fast, who can finish the rallies and that can understand as well the strategy around the rallies to be able to not push, or push or this kind of things.

“And this is what we are looking for.

“And definitely we will try to get the best lineup for next year. But as I say, you have to wait a few more days. Not too long.”

Neuville was quite to point out that “I don’t know the exact drivers lineup yet” but admitted “I hear a lot of rumors, so I can only believe what I hear”.

But he was also keen to add that he thinks the most suitable driver is the one imminently vacating the team.

2022JAPAN _FD_ 199

“I think the strongest team-mate has unfortunately left the team. So what we can do?” he said.

“We keep fighting, we were both fighting together. He gave up a bit earlier than me.

“But I understood he hasn’t signed anything yet. So maybe he’s coming back, I don’t know.”

Hyundai has said its 2023 lineup will be revealed at some point this week.

Words:Rob Hansford