Hyundai Motorsport is taking the junior classes of the FIA World Rally Championship rather seriously. Through their Customer Racing Junior Driver initiative, the squad is taking in young rally drivers for the first time.
Five drivers have been selected for the first run and will compete in Hyundai’s i20 R5 machine. Each driver was selected based on their career results and their ability to work with Hyundai Motorsport’s engineers and technicians.
Ole Christian Veiby and Nikolay Gryazin both competed in this past weekend’s Rallye Monte-Carlo in the WRC2, while Frenchman Pierre-Louis Loubet will join Norwegian and Russian in the WRC2. Callum Devine and Gregoire Munster round out the five selected drivers adding even more quality to this field.
Loubet last year claimed the WRC2 Championship title and is a firm favourite for a podium place in this season’s WRC2 Championship (formerly known as the WRC2 Pro class). The Frenchman is supported by the FFSA and will be one to watch.
Veiby showed his pace on the Rallye Monte-Carlo this past weekend against Nikolay Gryazin. Both are serious contenders for rally category wins in 2020. Gryazin finished fourth in last season’s WRC2 Championship and second in the 2018 European Rally Championship.
Irishman Devine was 2017’s Junior Briish Rally Champion and a Billy Coleman Award winner, who claimed third place in 2019’s Rally Hungary.
Munster is Luxembourg’s best young rally export, winning twice winning the Belgian Junior Rally Championship in 2018 and 2019, and this season he steps up to the R5-class machinery.
All will be able to take advantage of support from Hyundai Motorsport Customer Racing engineers, aimed at allowing them to develop their driving throughout the season, and consistently get the best from their car. They will have the mentoring of Hyundai Motorsport’s stable of experienced WRC crews, and the opportunity for extra training to help them further their motorsport careers towards a place at a manufacturer team in the World Rally Championship.
Hyundai Motorsport Team Principal Andrea Adamo said: “The Hyundai Motorsport Customer Racing Junior Driver initiative proved highly successful last year in circuit racing, so it was only natural to expand the program into rallying for 2020. We have five incredibly talented young guys, who have already shown pace in their careers. The group is also a good mix of those who already have experience with R5 cars, and those who are relatively new to the category, so the five drivers we have selected will be able to learn from each other, as much as from our engineers. With the support afforded by the Junior Driver program, and the new performance upgrades included in the i20 R5 ’20, I am sure they will be able to continue their excellent progress towards the pinnacle of the sport in the World Rally Championship.”