Lappi moves from the all-conquering Toyota Gazoo Racing having spent this year performing a bit-part role because of his car sharing arrangement with 8-time champion, Sebastien Ogier.

His consistency – three podium finishes from a total of seven starts on asphalt and gravel – is what brought him to the attention of Hyundai’s current Deputy Team Director Julien Moncet, notwithstanding the fact the Finn is one of the quickest and most experienced drivers today.

As for Breen, the 32-year-old Irishman ended his contract at M-Sport Ford 12 months early so as to return to compete for the South Korean manufacturer. He left the Alzenau-based squad for the Blue Oval last October after Malcolm Wilson offered him the chance of a full campaign.

However, what had the makings of being a fairy-tale partnership failed to materialise as a succession of retirements in Estonia, Finland, Belgium, New Zealand and most recently Japan due to individual error meant that he failed to pick up all-important manufacturers’ points.

Lappi has inked a full season’s drive, while Breen will share the third car with World Rally championship veteran Dani Sordo as he did previously between 2019 and 2021. Thierry Neuville completes the line-up.

“We are pleased to confirm our complete driver line-up for the 2023 WRC season with a three-car line-up and four experienced crews,” said Moncet.

“With Thierry, we know his performance potential and his appetite to fight for the drivers’ title. With Esapekka joining the team on a full-time campaign, we have a driver line-up that can compete for the top positions at all events and on all surfaces.

“Esapekka also has the required experience to help us develop our Hyundai i20 N Rally1, which will be fundamental throughout the season.

“Sharing the third car, we have Dani – who is the perfect team-player and a trusted pair of hands; he has taken five podiums in his past six events, which says it all.

“Craig returns to the team fully motivated and secures an enviably talented line-up to support Thierry and Esapekka. With these four crews, we have a competitive and experienced combination of talent, which will underpin the teamwork ethos and mentality within our entire organisation,” added the Frenchman.

Lappi has described the opportunity as “truly a dream and a unique opportunity” and believes he is well placed to help Hyundai fight on all fronts, saying: “The team showed during the 2022 season that it is capable of developing the car a lot during the season and has chances to win on every surface. From what I've heard already, 2023 looks very promising.

“We are well aware that there is a lot of work to do, but with Janne, I am committed to it. I believe we have a lot to give to the whole team. I want to thank Hyundai Motorsport for demonstrating their trust in us; we will do everything we can to be successful and to achieve our common goals.”

As for Breen, he wants to build on the success he enjoyed the last time he flew the flag for Hyundai in stage rallying’s top division. “We have secured some very memorable results together in the past, including several runner-up results, so hopefully I will be able to take that a step further,” he said.

“I have followed the team’s progress and development with interest this season, and I can see the momentum that has been building. Having the backing of a manufacturer team like Hyundai is special, and I’m sure we’ll have plenty more reasons to celebrate next season.”