Craig Breen says he hopes to return to form as he returns to Hyundai Motorsport following a year away after a difficult full-time season in 2022.
“It is nice to be back at Hyundai Motorsport after a year away. I’m looking forward to it, although there are a lot of different elements since I was last here. The car is completely new, but it feels really nice to drive. We had a good test in the Hyundai i20 N Rally1 Hybrid and we’ll have another one before our first event, but it was really positive and I am happy with how the car felt. In all honesty, last season was a difficult one for me, so the most challenging thing for me will be getting back on form again. For my own confidence, I want to bounce back and return to enjoying the rallies again, as well as getting good results. I believe the team has what it takes to challenge for the titles this season. There is no reason why we can’t win the title again; all the ingredients are there to do it.”
Been and his new full-time co-driver James Fulton will share the Hyundai i20 N Rally1 Hybrid with Dani Sordo who commented saying:
The start of a new season means that everybody is back at zero again; we are all equal on points, and we don’t really know how competitive the other cars and drivers will be. After the first event we will have a better impression of the situation, but I feel this could be a really good season for us. It should certainly be easier than last year, where we seemed to arrive at the start with new regulations and technologies really quickly. Now we are in the position where we know the Hyundai i20 N Rally1 Hybrid and we have more information than we did before; it is not so much a case of finding our feet, but continuing momentum. This year, Cándido and I are due to compete in more rallies, so it will be a little bit busier for us, but we are ready to assist with the fight for the championship.”
Thierry Neuville is back full-time with the team this season and looking towards the new season, he said:
“The challenge this year is very similar to previous seasons; the competition is going to be very tough again, but after a competitive second half of 2022 for us I think we can expect a more equal fight during 2023. The target remains unchanged: to win both championships. The manufacturers’ is very important for Hyundai Motorsport, and the drivers’ title is a goal I am still fighting for. I think we have the tools to fight at the front in every round. The slate may be wiped clean, but our performance in the final round of the previous season has certainly helped with the motivation of the team. It wasn’t just a victory, but a 1-2 finish, and the podium lock-out in Greece was another highlight. This was a boost for all of us, especially for the team members who worked so hard, practically 24/7, to get us where we are today with the Hyundai i20 N Rally1 Hybrid.”
Esapekka Lappi joins the team for 2023 and has been delighted with the welcome he received.
“The welcome from the team has been very warm. I’ve done a couple of days testing the Hyundai i20 N Rally1 Hybrid, and it was a positive surprise to feel so comfortable in it so quickly. I feel we are ahead of where I was expecting us to be at this stage and I’m looking forward to getting started. I still need to give myself some time to understand the car and the team even more, but we’re in a good position heading into the first round. A full season means you also need to think about the big picture as well. There are rallies where I am very strong, and there are some where I have no experience at all. That will present some challenges, but overall I’m excited by the calendar. It will be an interesting year as we are fighting against some very competitive drivers and I think it will tighter than last season as a result. I’m excited to help Hyundai Motorsport to push for titles in 2023.”