Lappi and Breen will help silverware quest in 2023: Neuville

Thierry Neuville believes the shrewd business Hyundai Motorsport bosses have performed in the driver market should help give the team “renewed impetus” to fight on all fronts next season.
Lappi and Breen will help silverware quest in 2023: Neuville

Following the shock departure of former champion Ott Tanak last month after he enacted a clause that allowed him to terminate his Hyundai contract early, Esapekka Lappi has been brough in to replace him for the 2023 World Rally Championship campaign.

It will be the Finn’s first full programme since 2020 and means that he has represented all three manufacturers in the mixed surface competition.

Both Neuville and Lappi will tackle every round next year, while Spaniard Dani Sordo is going to share the third points-scoring I20 N Rally1 car with Craig Breen who returns after spending a year with M-Sport Ford.

The arrangement between Sordo and Breen is identical to the one the duo was involved in between 2019 and 2021 before the Irishman’s move across the service park to the Blue Oval, although who will start which rallies has still yet to be announced.

“We can look towards the 2023 season in high spirits and with enhanced motivation, knowing we have a strong and experienced crew line-up,” said Neuville, a winner of two of the last four events in 2022, including this month’s Rally Japan.

“Esapekka will be a great addition to our team, and I am sure he will bring an important perspective to our operation. It’s also nice to have Craig back, sharing a third car with Dani.

“It’s a good combination of familiar faces and new blood that I am sure will give us fresh impetus as we embark on a new campaign.

“The team ethic is a really important value at Hyundai Motorsport, with all members of the company contributing to our goals; with our crew line-up confirmed, we are now in good shape as we look towards a new Championship year,” he added.

Hyundai Motorsport’s Deputy Team Director says he feels everything is now in place that will allow the Alzenau-based squad to battle strongly for the drivers’, co-drivers’ and manufacturers’ titles as, between them, Neuville, Lappi, Sordo and Breen have enjoyed 127 World Rally Championship podiums.

“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,” said Julien Moncet.

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