What about Ford and Toyota?
Craig Breen was due to continue with M-Sport Ford, but following a difficult 2022, where he crashed out in six separate rallies, the team and the Irishman have chosen to go their separate ways for 2023. That leaves M-Sport without any confirmed drivers for the new season. While Ott Tanak might be available, and has history with M-Sport, the team is unlikely at this time to have the funds to sign the 2019 Champion. Current drive Gus Greensmith would be likely to retain his drive, having made slow, but definite, progress in his time with the team and its two youngsters, Adrian Formaux and Pierre Louis-Loubet, will both be pushing for more chances.
Toyota is also leaving it late for driver decisions in 2023. Team boss Jari-Matti Latvala has spoken of his wish to keep his current drive lineup – World Champion Kalle Rovenpera, Welshman Elfyn Evans and Takamoto Katsuta in full-time drives and a fourth car shared by Esepekka Lappi and eight-time champ Sebastien Ogier – changes at other teams will complicate this. Lappi, who looked strong on his outings in the GR Yaris, will definitely have one eye on that open seat at Hyundai.
Who else might get a WRC drive?
Breen will obviously also be eyeing that spot at Hyundai, whether the full-time seat or sharing a car with, likely Sordo. But there has also been talk that Kris Meeke may be keen on a return. Meeke’s experience with Toyota, helping to develop the current car, would be very valuable to Hyundai as well as his vast experience on the WRC scene.
Sebastien Loeb, the most successful WRC driver of all time, contested a handful of WRC rounds in 2022, and is believed to be keen to continue in 2023. His win on the Monte Carlo Rally remained M-Sport’s only success with its new Puma WRC, so the team will no doubt be keen to find a way to fit the rallying legend into its programme.
There’s also Teemu Sunninen, the former M-Sport driver who has been driving for Hyundai in WRC2 this year. The Finn will have one eye on that Rally1 seat at the Korean team.