I’ve checked all my emails, spam folders, unwanted messages folders, top secret folders, and I can safely say I never received anything from Hyundai Motorsports, confirming the news of Dani Sordo making the move from Citroën to Hyundai. Wait a minute, I realized there and then, if it’s not official, then it must be… unofficial. So there you go, this is all unofficial and off the record, heard it through the grapevine, a friend’s friend told my niece’s nephew’s neighbor and he told me.
But let’s suppose it’s true, and judging by the amount of articles in Spanish press it most likely is, and Dani Sordo really is moving to Hyundai. He is supposed to accompany Juho Hanninen as… as… how do you call 2nd half of a 2nd driver? Anyway, he will compete in selected rounds of the WRC next year, presumably the tarmac events, while Hanninen will have do the dirty work on gravel.
Is this a good move or a bad move for Sordo and for Hyundai? The thing is, we don’t really know. It’s quite hard to judge the moves while we still don’t know anything about Citroën’s plans for next year. What will their programme look like, with how many cars? To us it may look like Sordo ditched a good opportunity of doing all events (and gravel, which he desperately needs if he’s to grow as a driver) in Citroën for a limited programme in Hyundai. But… wait for it… what if Sordo was not lined up for a full assault in 2014 in Citroën either? What if Citroën looked at Sordo’s points tally and decided to demote the Spaniard to similarly limited programme?
For Hyundai, hiring Sordo is a mixed move as well, but they needed someone capable of results on tarmac. And with a recent WRC experience. And pace notes. Maybe even a sponsor or two. Some will say they had a tarmac expert within their ranks already in Bryan Bouffier, but I reckon some details were in favour of Dani instead Bryan.
There must be something going on at Citroën, something we cannot fully understand at this point (or at least I can’t, which sometimes happen and I cannot explain it, should I seek help?). Even though it’s a competitive team with a competitive car, Sordo opted for the newcomers. That must mean something.
Let’s not forget Hyundai keeps repeating that 2014 will be a learning year, sort of a warm-up run to 2015 and full-on assault. They will not have two crews sharing one car in 2015, I suppose. They’re well organized and, some say, very well funded. Perhaps the taste of full works drive in 2015 tempted Sordo more than the unknown future at Citroën.
I cannot wait to see what kind of pace Hyundai can deliver next year, but even more interested in their choice of driver for 2015. They will have to pick a driver capable of delivering on all surfaces. Can Sordo and/or Hanninen earn their seat in 2015 line up? Time will tell! For now, let’s look forward to Dani Sordo and Thierry Neuville trying their best in a new team and a new car @ 2014 Rallye Monte Carlo.
I apologize for the “atmospheric” picture accompanying this post. Someone at Citroën keeps tripping over the cable, hitting the “Apply too much filter nao!” key in Photoshop.