Monday | 08 Mar 2021

Hyundai reveals backing for six young hot-shots

Hyundai Motorsport has named six youngsters in its junior driver development programme for the 2021 rallying season.

The group is headed by the Korean squad’s three WRC2 drivers. Norwegian Ole Christian Veiby (above), 24, continues into a second year in the scheme and is joined by team-mates Oliver Solberg and WRC3 champion Jari Huttunen.

Teenager Solberg joined Hyundai’s WRC2 line-up this year and last month made his top-level World Rally Car debut in an i20 at Arctic Rally Finland Powered by CapitalBox, where he finished seventh.

Twenty-seven-year-old Huttunen (below) returns to the scheme after originally being selected in 2018. After a disappointing campaign, the Finn was left out of Hyundai’s plans the following year when the programme was paused.

Also included is Frenchman Pierre-Louis Loubet, 23, who has a full i20 World Rally Car programme this season with the Hyundai 2C Compétition team.

A new face to the junior programme is Josh McErlean, who steps up to WRC3 in 2021 whilst also competing in European and British Championship rounds. With support from Motorsport Ireland Rally Academy, 21-year-old McErlean made a significant impression in last year’s season-closing ACI Rally Monza on only his second WRC start.

The sextet is completed by 22-year-old Gregoire Munster. The Belgian finished third in the European Championship last year and turns his focus to the Belgian Championship for 2021 with the BMA team.

The Customer Racing Junior Driver programme is now in its third year with the aim of nurturing young talent in both rallying and circuit racing. Drivers will receive engineering support and mentoring from Hyundai’s WRC stars, as well as media training and social media coaching.

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