The Hyundai Motorsport Customer Racing Junior Driver program will in 2020 include rallying for the first time, with five drivers signed up for its inaugural season.
Designed to help each driver improve and potentially forge a path to the Hyundai WRC programme, the scheme has picked drivers they believe haven’t just performed well result wise, but also shone when it comes to working with the manufacturers engineers and technicians.
Leading the five-strong line-up is defending WRC2 champion Pierre-Louis Loubet, who again will have additional support from the FFSA for the 2020 rallying season as he looks to show his strong form that saw him take the title in 2019.
Following in his footsteps are Ole-Christian Veiby and Nikolay Gryazin. Both drivers took part in last weekend’s Rallye Monte Carlo and showed reasons why they’ve been picked for the program.
Veiby had been battling with eventual class winner Mads Østberg before he cruelly retired on the final day of action after crashing out, while Russian Gryazin took third in the class behind Østberg and Adrien Fourmaux.
Also joining them in the setup is Billy Coleman Award winner Callum Devine, who’ll tackle an FIA European Rally Championship campaign and Luxembourg driver Grégoire Munster, who also took part in the opening round of the 2020 WRC as he began what is his first full season of rallying in an R5-spec car.
Munster has signed up to the young driver’s scheme after taking successive junior championships in Belgium, while Devine has contested both the Junior British and Junior World series’ in recent years as well as a 2019 Irish Tarmac campaign in a Ford Fiesta R5.
Andrea Adamo, Hyundai Motorsport Team Principal said on the announcement: “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”
He continued: “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.”
Hyundai previously ran a similar program with circuit racing involving the i30 N TCR which saw five drivers all supported by the manufacturer.