Our team is pleased to announce the relaunch of our Hyundai Motorsport Driver development Programme (HMDP), which aims to provide young drivers with an environment and dedicated resources to become the next generation of Rally1 driver candidates.
“We already have drivers with experience in Thierry, Esapekka and Dani, but now the direction is to look into the younger generation and help them to fulfil their potential,” said our President Sean Kim. “Supporting rising talent with this programme we can honour the memory of Craig Breen, who, as a passionate rally fan, always put a lot of effort into nurturing juniors, and also strongly reinforces our commitment to the WRC.”
“The HMDP is not here to fill a gap, instead it is a strategic platform to ensure that Hyundai has multiple choices and options among the young drivers out there,” added our Team Principal, Cyril.
The future of rally
Current WRC2 drivers Teemu Suninen and Emil Lindholm have been selected for the programme and start with immediate effect.
Teemu will step into the i20 N Rally1 Hybrid to replace the late Craig Breen in Rally Estonia and Rally Finland. He will also take part in development tests for the i20 N Rally1 Hybrid and the i20 N Rally2, plus participate in pre-event roll outs as part of the programme.
“This is a great opportunity to get back to top tier cars and I have been really missing it,” explained Teemu. “Estonia and Finland have previously been strong rallies for me, but it will be a big challenge to learn the i20 N Rally1 Hybrid with limited testing.”
Plans for Dani will remain unaffected for the rest of the season, and Teemu’s WRC plan will be communicated in due course.
Stronger WRC2 links
The HMDP will enhance our existing Customer Racing WRC2 programme and the i20 N Rally2 car with further developments as it becomes a growing importance within our system.
“The programme will further enhance our products and the ability to attract potential new customers, as we look to set the benchmark for developing young talent,” said our Customer Racing Manager, Andrea Cisotti. “It allows us to continue the development of the i20 N Rally2, which will further our ambitions to be the leading manufacturer in the category.”
Emil will be joining us to compete in July’s Rally Estonia with further plans for the Finnish driver in the category to be announced in due course. Customer Racing Junior Driver Fabrizio will continue his WRC2 programme as planned.
“I’m really excited about the opportunity to become part of one of the most accomplished and successful rally teams globally,” commented Emil. “My decision to join Hyundai Motorsport stems primarily from the brand’s proven track record of success in rallying and especially their commitment to nurture young talent.”
We will continue to monitor the market to extend our pool of drivers in the programme, with our objective of 2024 to develop the future further with the next generation of WRC drivers.
Text and photo: Hyundai Motorsport