Rally News

Neuville’s WRC contract talks waiting on Hyundai joker confirmation

Thierry Neuville, Martijn Wydaeghe, Hyundai World Rally Team Hyundai i20 N Rally1

Thierry Neuville is hopeful contract renewal talks can begin soon once Hyundai’s plan to utilise its development jokers for its World Rally Championship car is confirmed.

The WRC points leader is in the final year of his current contract with the Korean marque, that marks his 11th season with the Alzenau operation.

Neuville has previously stated a desire to continue competing in WRC’s top tier although the Belgian admitted earlier this year that his future in the category was threatened by the uncertainty over the WRC’s technical regulations for next year that prompted doubts over Hyundai’s participation in the championship.  

Since those comments, the FIA announced a U-turn on the proposed technical reforms earlier this month following a request for stability in regulations led by the manufacturers.

Neuville says his future is still yet to be secured as the five-time championship runner-up awaits final confirmation over Hyundai’s development joker plan. The team is hoping to use two years’ worth of jokers improving its i20 N after it was forced to cancel development of a new car due to the uncertainty in technical regulations triggered by the FIA’s February reforms.

“I have no confirmation about anything yet, but I knew that the decision from the World Motor Sport Council and the application of the current jokers and future jokers were very important, and I know that has been all worked out in a good way,” Neuville told Autosport/Motorsport.com when asked about his future at Hyundai.

“I believe that it is going well but I have no confirmation, so let’s see. If I get confirmation it [contract talks] will start very soon.”

Thierry Neuville, Martijn Wydaeghe, Hyundai World Rally Team Hyundai i20 N Rally1

Photo by: McKlein / Motorsport Images

Neuville is however relieved that the World Motor Sport Council decided to uphold the request of the manufacturers to retain the current Rally1 and Rally2 technical regulations until the end of 2026.  

This move coupled with the WRC Promoter’s roadmap to improve the promotion of the championship has given Neuville reason to believe that the series can improve its popularity.

“For me it is a big relief for sure. I believe there are four manufacturers that are relived as well as they all requested [for the rules to stay the same],” he added.

“I think that is important. There was more of a need to secure the current manufacturers for the upcoming…

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