Hyundai’s WRC boss announces his departure a month before the start of the 2022 season

Hyundai Motorsports‘ head at the World Rally Championship (WRC), Andrea Adamo, is to leave his position, and the company, immediately for personal reasons. The announcement was made on Tuesday by the South Korean multinational through a press release that highlighted the decision was mutually agreed upon. 

The Italian engineer not only directed the sports program in the WRC but was also in charge of the World Touring Car Cup (WTCR) and its all-electric category (Pure ETCR), as well as the customer racing programmes. 

In the short term, his duties and the huge volume of day-to-day responsibilities will be assumed by company president Scott Noh, who will receive the support of the corresponding department directors. 

After six years with Hyundai Motorsport, we have mutually agreed for me to step down from my role as Team Principal. It is time for me to reflect on a relentless and successful period in my career, one full of high points, happy memories, and titles. I am proud of what we have achieved from building an enviable Customer Racing department to our consecutive titles in WTCR and WRC. I wish the organisation well for its future,” said Andrea Adamo.

Hyundai president Now has thanked Andrea Adamo’s contribution:
“I would like to thank Andrea for his significant contribution over six years which has seen us secure important titles in WRC and WTCR. We can reflect on some very positive moments together and I sincerely wish him all the best for the future. Our operations will continue to run as scheduled ahead of the 2022 season, which starts with Rallye Monte-Carlo next month”.

WRC 2021: Only three victories and no titles  

Besides other considerations, Hyundai’s disappointing season in the 2021 WRC could well have weighted in the decision. The season that just ended in Monza brought them just three victories (Artic-FinlandYpres & Spain) in twelve rounds and none of the two crowns at stake, a very poor balance for the South Koreans. 

Neither the Constructors’ crown, which they defended, nor the Pilots’ one, which they were very eager to conquer for the first time, have come to adorn their display cabinets. 

This poor performance is in contrast with their outstanding line-up. Despite their shiny credentials, its full-time drivers, Ott Tänak (2019 World Champion), and Thierry Neuville (2017-19 runner-up), along with the Spaniard Dani Sordo and the Northern Irish Craig Breen, have been crushed by Toyota.

It is also true that their machine, the i20 Coupé WRC, has been no match for the extremely efficient Toyota Yaris WRC, which has proved to be much superior on every terrain. 

Adamo joined the company in December 2015 to lead the customer racing programmes. Four years later, from January 2019 until today, he replaced Michel Nandan as team manager in the WRC. 

A Hasty departure during the 2022 preparation 

The hasty departure of the Italian engineer, with barely a month and a half remaining for the start of the new hybrid era in 2022, has taken everyone by surprise. The team from Alzenau is in fact currently immersed in the preparation of their new model, the i20 N Rally 1, which was unveiled last week during tests ahead of its debut at the Monte Carlo Rally, the opening round of next season. 

In the said tests, Thierry Neuville and his co-driver Martijn Wydaeghe suffered a severe accident that resulted in a considerable setback for the company. With the chassis rendered useless as a result of the incident, the Asian team will now have to accelerate the construction of a second one. Worst of all, this difficulty has come at a time when the Asian squad’s project is already lagging behind compared to that of rivals Toyota and M-Sport.  

Images of Andrea Adamo: Hyundai Motorsport.

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