Hyundai locks in stars for new WRC era

2019 WRC champion Ott Tanak celebrates victory in this year’s Arctic Rally Finland

Hyundai Motorsport has announced its star duo Ott Tanak and Thierry Neuville will continue leading its World Rally Championship charge for years to come.

The pair have signed multi-year contract extensions for 2022 and beyond, as the category moves into the new Rally1 hybrid era.

Tanak, 33, is in the midst of his second campaign at Hyundai, having moved there after winning the 2019 title with Toyota.

The recent Arctic Rally Finland winner said he was “really happy” to have sorted his future.

“Since 2020, we have shared many special moments together, as well as working through some more difficult times,” said Tanak.

“Over the past two years I have seen the team’s commitment and their determination to succeed and I am sure that each and every one will continue to push the limits.

“We are entering into the new era of WRC, as we are switching to the hybrid regulations and this means everyone will start from a blank page.

“Hyundai Motorsport has a huge knowledge and experience package of hybrid and electric technologies which will play a big role when we start developing the new Rally1 car.

“I am looking forward to the new era of the WRC, but we have still a job to do this year – making sure we send off the current generation of WRC cars in the best possible way.”

Thierry Neuville

As for Neuville, the Belgian has been a mainstay at Hyundai since 2014.

The 32-year-old sits second in the 2021 standings as he continues to pursue a breakthrough title – having finished as championship runner-up on five occasions now.

“My intention was to continue the adventure in the World Rally Championship with Hyundai Motorsport and I’m happy to sign a multi-year contract with the team which became my second family,” said Neuville.

“Besides the fact that I feel really well with them, their determination and target for victory convinced me to pursue the fantastic journey we started together more than seven years ago.

“Their approach and ambitions on the new challenges coming next year, with the new WRC hybrid regulation, is also very promising.

“I love rallying and I’m not ready to stop! I’ve been dreaming about it since I’m a child and thanks to Hyundai and my strong motivation, dedication and determination, I continue to give my very best!”

Team principal Andrea Adamo added, “We are delighted to extend our relationship with Thierry and Ott beyond 2021 with multi-year deals.

“Working with these two talented drivers in the future demonstrates once again our continuous determination and ambition to succeed in the World Rally Championship and reaffirms Hyundai’s strong commitment to the series as it enters its new hybrid era in 2022.

“Both have demonstrated to be exceptional ambassadors for the brand and the team and I would like to thank Thierry for his loyalty to Hyundai Motorsport since 2014 and Ott for trusting us and our work – we are very pleased to continue to collaborate with them now and in the years to come.

“We are beginning the crucial phase of testing of our new 2022 Rally1 challenger in the near future so together with Thierry and Ott, we can execute a smooth testing plan.

“We can’t also forget that we still have a job to do together this year focussing on our goals for 2021 as well as thinking ahead to 2022 and beyond.”

Portugal will host Round 4 of the 2021 WRC season on May 20-23.

Neuville (left) with Tanak

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