More than four years after leaving the rally elite, Norwegian Andreas Mikkelsen will return to the WRC World Championship next year for a partial program with Hyundai, the South Korean manufacturer announced on Wednesday.
“Since 2019, we have fought to return to the highest level of the discipline, and I am very happy that we are doing it with Hyundai”, the team with which he was engaged between 2017 and 2019 in the WRC, reacted the 34-year-old driver. years, cited in a press release. Mikkelsen, reigning champion in the lower WRC2 category, has won three WRC victories (one in 2015 and two in 2016, with Volkswagen).
In 2024, he will share a third car with the Finn Esapekka Lappi and the Spaniard Dani Sordo, the latter having also been confirmed on Wednesday for his 11th season in the ranks of the Asian team.
The trio will team up with Estonian starters Ott Tänak, 2019 world champion, and Belgian Thierry Neuville. After a season spent with M-Sport/Ford, Tänak will also return to the manufacturer with whom he spent three years, from 2020 to 2022, after leaving it with a bang before the end of his contract, at the end of 2022.
“The combination of Esapekka, Dani and Andreas will give us the opportunity to put together the best possible team for each event, to fight alongside Thierry and Ott,” said Cyril Abiteboul, the French boss of the team. At the end of the final round of the season, in Japan in November, Hyundai finished in second place in the manufacturers' world championship, behind Toyota. In the drivers' standings, Neuville finished 3rd, behind the Toyotas of double Finnish world champion Kalle Rovanperä and Briton Elfyn Evans. The Japanese manufacturer announced at the end of November that Rovanperä, 23, will also be involved in a partial program next year.