No sign of their 2023 livery yet but M-Sport are ready and excited to start their 2023 challenge.
Richard Millener: “We’re thrilled to be starting this new season with Ott leading the ranks. It’s been a productive few months, culminating in the pre-event test this week, and we’re ready to take on what is to come. I think we’re already seeing the benefits of working with Ott, and I hope Pierre comes to gain from this as well. Everyone back at Dovenby has been hard at work on both the Rally1 and Rally2 programmes to get us ready for this new season. I want to thank everyone for their commitment so far and together we should be able to deliver some very strong results this year.”
Ott Tänak: “Rallye Monte-Carlo is always a difficult one to expect something, but for sure it’s the trickiest rally of the season. It won’t be any easier this time as well to get into the rhythm right away, so we expect nothing less than another tricky weekend in the mountains. We tried to get the best out of our first test days and we were lucky to experience the car in different conditions. It’s never easy to start the season from the blank page and building up the setup, but the boys and girls from M-Sport are working hard and hopefully we are well prepared for the upcoming challenge. I’m really looking forward to our first race together.”
Pierre-Louis Loubet: “I’m really happy with this week’s test; we tried a number of things, much more than usual, and the car felt great. The car is built for these kinds of roads and it’s very enjoyable to drive. I hope we will see similar conditions to the test on the rally next week, that would suit us really well. I’m trying to stay calm, it’s a fantastic opportunity to have my first full season with M-Sport, but it’s also a big responsibility and I take that very seriously. So, I’m trying to keep a cool head, and we’ll see how we do throughout the season. We have all the tools we need to do well.”
Adrien Fourmaux: “Rallye Monte Carlo is, of course, the most famous in the Championship, and it’s always a fantastic way to start the season. We’re hoping for a good result on this rally to give us the best start possible for the WRC2 Championship. It’s one of the most difficult rallies of the season, with tricky and changing road conditions, and we should have the full effect with some snow and ice conditions too. I’m looking forward to getting back out in a Rally2 and seeing what we can achieve.”
Grégoire Munster: “We’re looking forward to going to Monte Carlo for the first time with a car prepared by M-Sport. We’ve done the rally a few times in the past so we have some experience there, but I don’t think it would be realistic to say we will aim straight for a big result. We will just try to get familiar with the car, be consistent throughout the weekend and see where we end up. We want to start our campaign on a good footing.”
Toyota Gazoo Racing have officially launched their 2023 campaign today.
Team boss Jari-Matti Latvala: “As a rally fan the start of the season is always a very exciting moment and this year is no different. Every team is able to win so we expect that this season is going to be tougher and more challenging. But we like this challenge and we enjoy having to really fight for victories. Of course, we have to have the three titles as our target once again. We know we have a strong car but we also know that we need to keep working hard and that there are areas where we have to improve compared to last year. Every year you have to look for where you can make your car better and there are a few things which we have changed for this year. We have everything ready; we have a car which has been competitive and reliable and our drivers are all familiar with that car and hungry for results. With Rallye Monte-Carlo we start with the most difficult rally of the season. Going into the first stages in the darkness on Thursday night is a huge challenge for the drivers, and at the end of the weekend you want to finish with a good result to start the season.”
Kalle Rovanperä: “My feeling is good before the start of the new season. We know that it will not be easy to defend the championship. We have seen that the competition level is getting higher all the time, so we need to try and raise our game also and keep pushing hard. The team is again doing a great job to try and maximise the performance and make the car faster and stronger. Rallye Monte-Carlo is a special event, and usually makes for a bit of a tricky and nervous start to the season. But I’m more confident going into the rally than I was last year when everything was so new with the car; now I know that we should have everything in the right direction and be able to have an easier start. It’s never simple to have a clean rally there, but that will be our plan to begin the season in the right way.”
Elfyn Evans: “The WRC off-season is always pretty short but I was still happy to take a bit of a break and now I feel ready to go into the new season. Last year fell short of my own expectations personally, but we managed to make some progress and I’m hoping to be able to put better results together this season. The team is always working to evolve the car, and twelve months in to the Rally1 era we understand things a lot better. Like always it should be a competitive year but I definitely feel that we’re in a better place to challenge, and to fight for the title remains my goal. Rallye Monte-Carlo is a classic event and one that everyone wants to win. It’s always a big challenge, especially with the conditions, but it’s a challenge I enjoy and hopefully we can start the year with a positive result.”
Sébastien Ogier: “I’m still very excited at the start of the season, even though I’m no longer taking part in the full year. It’s always a pleasure to sit behind the steering wheel of a top WRC car. Last year I really enjoyed doing these few rallies. It was good to see I could still be competitive and the target is to try and stay on a similar level this year and fight for some more wins. I know that the team is never relaxing; even though the last seasons have been very successful, they are still working very hard. Rallye Monte-Carlo is probably the one I want to win the most and I will do my best once more. Preparation has been more difficult as everybody is limited to one day of testing, which is difficult for such a complex event with different conditions and tyre options. But it’s the same for everybody, and I will try to make the most of my experience.”
The Hyundai Shell Mobis WRT have officially launched their 2023 campaign today. Here’s what the drivers had to say.
Thierry Neuville: “The competition is going to be very tough again, but after a strong second half of 2022 for us, I think we can expect a more equal fight during 2023. The target remains unchanged: to win both championships.”
Esapekka Lappi: “I’ve done a couple of days testing the car, and it was a positive surprise to feel so comfortable in it so quickly. We are ahead of where I was expecting us to be and I’m looking forward to getting started.”
Dani Sordo: “The start of a new season means that everybody is equal on points, and we don’t know yet how competitive the other cars will be. I feel this could be a really good one for us; it is not so much a case of finding our feet, but continuing momentum.”
Craig Breen: “It is great to be back at Hyundai Motorsport. The car is completely new, but it feels really nice to drive. There is no reason why we can’t win the title again; all the ingredients are there to do it.”