Rally Cars 2023: Toyota vs Hyundai vs M-Sport

Driver castling among the three manufacturer teams from Toyota, Hyundai and M-Sport Ford will ensure excitement in 2023. Something has also happened technically. We will show you the new racing cars from the major manufacturers.

The 51st season of the World Rally Championship, which has been held since 1973, begins this weekend with the Monte Carlo Rally. The technical concept has more than proven itself over the past twelve months. As before, the Rally1 cars are based on a tubular frame chassis and run on 100 percent fossil-free fuel.

The 1.6-liter turbo engines deliver around 400 hp, which, thanks to electric support, have a system output of over 530 hp. The action on the rally tracks was huge, as was the safety. There was also a lot to do in terms of sport. In the previous year, every manufacturer was able to win.

Toyota wants a hat-trick for the title

In order to continue this success story, the three factory teams have rearranged their personnel. World champion Toyota sees itself well positioned with champion Kalle Rovanperä, Elfyn Evans and part-time works driver Sébastien Ogier. The Japanese Takamoto Katsuta should take the next step and fight for brand points in those World Championship races where the eight-time world champion Ogier is missing.

Toyota team boss Jari-Matti Latvala has set the goal for the season to win all world titles for the third time in a row. "We also want to be better at our home rallies in Finland and Japan, and when the Yaris Rally1 is on hard tyres," says Head of Technology Tom Fowler and reveals: "Once again we're starting the season with a new engine expansion stage."

In addition, the chassis geometry was changed via new attachment points. The air inlets on the sides, derided as sail ears, have given way to smaller cooling openings. The new car was presented by CEO Akio Toyoda at the Tokyo Auto Salon.

Hyundai with a new team boss

The Hyundai factory team is still in transition. Julien Moncet is back in second place. Ex-Renault F1 team boss Cyril Abiteboul was introduced as the new team director. The squad of drivers has also been reformed: alongside Hyundai veteran Thierry Neuville, Esapekka Lappi, coming from Toyota, will contest all World Championship races.

Dani Sordo and Craig Breen, who has returned from the full-time cockpit at M-Sport after just a year, are taking turns in the third Hyundai works car. At the start, the Spanish veteran is given preference over last year's third place Breen, who instead sits in the i20 Rally1 in Sweden.

During the winter break, the engineers in Alzenau put their hands on the emergency vehicle again. In order to make the bitchy hybrid bolide more drivable under all conditions, the drive train and aerodynamics were revised in addition to the chassis geometry.

M-Sport with championship ambitions

At M-Sport, no stone was left unturned in terms of personnel either. With returnee Ott Tänak, the Brits have a real top driver and former world champion as a full-time driver in their ranks for the first time since Sébastien Ogier. In addition, top talent Pierre-Louis Loubet will contest a whole season as a works driver for the first time in the second Ford Puma Rally1. A third factory cockpit will not exist at M-Sport for the time being.

Gus Greensmith has left the team after eight years and is moving to WRC2. Record champion Sébastien Loeb was originally ready for a larger program, but now it seems he doesn't even want to be available for four World Championship starts from the Rally Croatia. Tänak also demands that his team concentrate fully on his driver's title ambitions.

As far as the car is concerned, there isn't much new technically. The new paintwork is more striking. Instead of pre-season's distinctive purple livery, M-Sport returns to traditional Ford blue for the 2023-generation Fiesta.


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