Will there be any WRC driver moves for 2024?

David Evans relays what he knows so far about the driver lineups for next year's WRC

FIA ERC – Fia European Rally Championship 2023 at Fafe, Portugal

Back in the day, the material for this corner of cyberspace would have been garnered while sheltering from the rain and hiding a little bit behind a tree in the Paviljonki service area. Or, back when expense budgets permitted, over a bottle of wine in Figaro – Jyväskylä’s best restaurant.

The driver market always went through the gears in the last throes of summer and, back in the day, Rally Finland was later in August, staring down the barrel of the fall.

Which is where we are today. The final day of summer. Unless you’re reading this south of the equator, in which case apologies – welcome to spring. Nearly.

Point is… the driver market.

Is there one this year?

On the face of it, there’s great potential for movement.


In June, DirtFish reported that Kalle Rovanperä’s manager Timo Jouhki was discussing the Finn’s future with Hyundai. Of course he was, it’s what he does. And, let’s be honest, few in the world have done it with more success then Mr J.

So, Kalle to Hyundai then.


What about Sébastien Ogier? Some say he’s Korea-bound? Might make sense. Him and Hyundai’s new uber-tech boss François-Xavier Demaison have a rich history together; joining forces at Volkswagen to deliver eight titles in four years. Hyundai could use a few of those right now.

But I’d be surprised.


Same for Elfyn Evans.

As for Takamoto Katsuta… could you imagine the likeable Japanese saying the following: “Konnichiwa Toyoda-san! Thanks for everything. I’m off. I’ve decided to leave Toyota and go and drive for Hyundai/M-Sport (delete as appropriate in this entirely inappropriate consideration).”

Neither can I.

If any of the above was tempted away from Toyota, who would fill their place?

Ott Tänak would be the obvious one. The Estonian’s on a single-year deal with M-Sport Ford and could be back aboard a Yaris for the first time in four years in just a few short months.

Admittedly, relations were a touch strained when Ott landed his maiden world title just in time to wave farewell to the team and plaster a theoretical number one on the doors of his Hyundai (he never did, he stuck with the straight eight).


Much of that angst was reportedly centered on relations with then team principal Tommi Mäkinen. With TM no longer TP, maybe the door’s open again.

Not if sources close to the Jyväskylä-based team are to be believed.

“We have a good equilibrium right now, why would we change that?” was the thinking from just about every behind-the-tree-away-from-the-rain convo I’ve had with anybody in red, white and black.

Neuville ruled himself out of a move back in March 2021, when he and Tänak signed with Hyundai’s then world championship-winning boss Andrea Adamo. Adamo’s own move facilitated Tänak’s departure (both Neuville and Tänak had clauses added to ease their departure should the Italian no longer sit at the head of the Alzenau table), but Neuville has one year remaining.

And, anyway, he looks more content with the arrival of Demaison and Cyril Abiteboul in the management structure.

Lappi could move, but there’s strong speculation that an option will be taken on the Finn. And then there’s the third Hyundai.

Another season of Dani Sordo would bring more points and more smiles, but is there a case for cementing a third driver? And is that third driver Teemu Suninen? The fast Finn was fast in Finland, but we need to see more of him elsewhere before we can make a real call. Chile will provide some evidence.

For me, the big – and potentially – only question to ask a source over some sauce in Figaro today would be Ott Tänak: what now?

Words:David Evans