Moncet reveals why Hyundai chose Breen and Lappi for 2023

The deputy team principal of Hyundai Motorsport, Julien Moncet, unveils the reason why the team chose Craig Breen and Esapekka Lappi to join them in 2023 and believes that both drivers could play a crucial role to the development of i20N Rally1.

As Ott Tanak announced his premature exit from Hyundai Motorsport at the end of Rally Spain, the Alzenau-based team had two available Rally1 seats for 2023 as firstly they decided to part ways with Oliver Solberg. Dani Sordo's future in World Rally Championship was in doubt as the Spaniard wanted to evaluate his performance when the 2022 season would be over. Eventually, Sordo decided to continue with the team for 2023 with a partial programme again and will share the third i20N Rally1 car with Craig Breen who left M-Sport Ford prematurely this year and rejoined the Korean squad for 2023. The surprising transfer was this of Esapekka Lappi who decided not to continue with Toyota next year and to sign a full-season contract with Hyundai as Tanak's replacement.

"Obviously once Ott has decided to leave it has opened some let’s say other opportunities in the driver market, and we were really looking to find the best possible lineup", Moncet said.

"It’s difficult to replace Ott, this is clear, he is one of the top drivers, but I think what we have achieved in terms of new drivers for next year is quite positive. 

"I’m really looking forward to seeing all these guys working together next year.

"Thierry has been with us since day one, we know him – he’s a great competitor, fully motivated, he’s quick so for sure he will target the drivers’ championship. 

"We have Dani who is still with us as well for many years now – we know that Dani is an incredible driver and human being, he’s competitive, he’s always there at the end scoring a lot of points for us and it’s very important.

"And yes we have two new drivers, or let’s say new for one – Esapekka is completely new to us. 

"For sure he has driven for all the teams I guess now and we know he’s quick, he has the right mentality – I think that’s important as well for the team – and he has the experience of Toyota with Rally1, same with Craig that we had already in the past, he’s back with us on a partial program.

"As well he will bring us his experience of Rally1 with another car so we will have a good overview of all the other cars. 

"I think they will be able to compare and give us the feedback where we are strong, where we are weak and where we have to improve – this is quite important as well.

"And yeah I think with Craig as well he’s a good team player, for sure he had a difficult season in 2022 but I’m sure we’ll be able to put him back in the right way.

"For sure they don’t know everything about the cars they were driving this season but yeah they will be able to compare definitely, in many aspects in terms of engine, suspension, gear ratio and as well and importantly the hybrid.

"Because everyone, as you can see on the TV, has a different hybrid strategy I would say and it will be interesting to get the feedback if we are going in the right way or we are doing it completely wrong or we have to bring something new.

"So of course it does not mean we will get everything from the competitors but it’s always an interesting feedback and it’s very important for us to get comments about our car from someone new, because you know when you are used to something you focus always on the same point.

"It’s quite interesting to get their feedback when they will drive the car".


Photo Credits: Hyundai

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