Hyundai Wins WRC Title for the Second Year Running

By Colin Wood
Dec 7, 2020 | Hyundai, i20, WRC, World Rally Championship

Quick, name a rally powerhouse. Subaru? Lancia? How about Hyundai. 

Hyundai? Yes, Hyundai. 

Thanks in part to a double-podium finish at the Rally Monza, the finale of the 2020 FIA World Rally Championship season, Hyundai secured its second WRC manufacturer trophy with a total of 241 points (with Toyota Gazoo behind with a close 236 points).

Using two heavily modified i20s—a model not sold in North America, though somewhat closely related to the Kia Rio—Hyundai was able to garner “three victories, 11 individual podiums, two 1-2 results and all five of its crews taking top-three results.”

All of this, of course, taking place in a world impacted by a global pandemic that briefly halted the series, and even changed a few rules during the 2020 season.

Read the full press release below:

December 7, 2020 — Hyundai Motorsport has claimed its second consecutive FIA World Rally Championship (WRC) manufacturers’ title* with a double podium result in Rally Monza, the season finale. Ott Tänak finished a challenging weekend in second place with Dani Sordo in third.

In one of the most demanding and eventful rallies of the season, with wet and often wintry conditions dominating the stages, Hyundai Motorsport scored 33 points to secure its second title with a five- point margin.

A rollercoaster rally saw the overall classification change stage by stage, making for a dramatic and exciting end to a season which has been heavily disrupted by external influences. Three stages remained on Sunday morning - a third run through the 10.31km Grand Prix and a repeat of the longer 14.97 Serraglio test - with crews focused on a trouble-free finish.

Tänak and co-driver Martin Järveoja moved up to second place on the opening stage, swapping places with Sordo and Carlos del Barrio. Although neither crew was pushing for positions, they continued to exchange places until the Power Stage with the Estonians edging slightly ahead of their Spanish team-mates.

Thierry Neuville and co-driver Nicolas Gilsoul were forced to retire from the rally in exceptionally tricky conditions on the opening day and did not re-join. It was an unrepresentative end to the season for the Belgian crew, who opened their 2020 account with victory in Monte-Carlo back in January.

Following one of the team’s most emotional wins, further podiums would follow at curtailed events in Sweden and Mexico, with Tänak and Järveoja claiming their first trophies for Hyundai Motorsport.

During the enforced lockdown period, as the world collectively tackled the COVID-19 pandemic, the team continued to work tirelessly under home office’ regulations to identify and implement important improvements to its technical package.

When the season resumed at the brand-new Rally Estonia, it was home heroes Tänak and Järveoja who took the advantage, leading a 1-2 result ahead of team-mates Craig Breen and Paul Nagle.

Closing the gap in the title hunt, a reinvigorated Hyundai Motorsport continued to show impressive pace on the notoriously harsh gravel roads of Rally Turkey, adding another double podium finish.

The team demonstrated its title credentials in Sardinia by taking another 1-2, with Sordo and Del Barrio scoring their second victory for the team, repeating their success from 2019. The result propelled Hyundai Motorsport into the championship lead, setting up the tantalising and ultimately triumphant showdown in Monza.

President of Hyundai Motorsport GmbH, Scott Noh, said: “What a rally to finish the season! That was an exciting and fitting finale which tested us right to the Power Stage. At Hyundai Motorsport, we are honoured to complete the year on top of the manufacturers’ table and to take our second consecutive WRC title. This result is another important landmark moment for Hyundai Motor Company, and especially poignant considering what we’ve all faced this year. We have put our full energy into this season, and I thank every single member of Hyundai Motorsport and the global Hyundai community for their support. We look forward to brighter days and more success in 2021.”

Team Principal Andrea Adamo commented: “Monza is so emotional for me and brings back a lot of personal memories. From arriving on Wednesday, I have had so many emotions in my soul. It’s been a tough year; we know how many struggles there have been in the world and I have had to make sure our team - my people - have been supported throughout. To come to Monza and to take our second title is just wonderful and a moment to cherish. Before the Power Stage, I said it was like U2 singing Faraway, So Close, well now it’s a Beautiful Day. This is a result that we will share with the entire organisation and their families, as well as all our crews. Every single member of the team has pushed incredibly hard to get the most out of the situation and to improve our performance. We started strongly in Monte-Carlo - a truly special moment for all of us - and since we returned after the summer, we have been very competitive. We knew we had to get the most out of limited events, and we returned to the top of the championship based on merit, performance, perseverance and hard work. I am proud to lead such an incredible team and to fly the Hyundai flag in motorsport. My thanks go to the FIA and the WRC Promoter for their efforts this year in difficult circumstances.”

Tänak said: “Our first priority today was to ensure we finished the rally with Dani to make sure we cemented the manufacturers’ title for Hyundai Motorsport. It has been a really difficult rally from the start; we have had to endure some complicated conditions, which continued on this morning’s stages with tricky, rough roads. It was demanding but we achieved our target for the team, and it’s an achievement we can now celebrate together.”

Sordo said: “The target all weekend has been to secure the result we needed for the manufacturers’ championship. It has been an incredibly tricky event, but we have come through with another double podium result. For me, it wasn’t important whether it was second or third; we just needed to get the combined result for the team, which we have done. This has been a hard- fought result, not just here in Monza but at all the events since Monte-Carlo. The team has pushed all the way and we can now share a second championship title together.”

Neuville said: “A very special season comes to an end; it might not have been the championship that anyone expected at the beginning of the year due to the crisis, but we have achieved our goal to take our second manufacturers’ title. This is a phenomenal result for everyone at Hyundai Motorsport and I am happy to be part of this winning team. The Monza weekend did not go to plan for me and Nicolas after our retirement on Friday, but in the end the title is confirmed. My thanks go to every team member for their hard work and dedication. It’s time to celebrate!”

*subject to the official publication of the results by the FIA

Final Overall Classification — Rally Monza

1 S. Ogier

J. Ingrassia

Toyota Yaris WRC


2 O. Tänak

M. Järveoja

Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC


3 D. Sordo

C. del Barrio

Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC


4 E. Lappi

J. Ferm

Ford Fiesta WRC


5 K. Rovan perä

J. Halttunen

Toyota Yaris WRC


6 A. Mikkelsen

A. Jaeger

Škoda Fabia R5


7 O. Solberg

A. Johnston

Škoda Fabia R5


8 J. Huttunen

M. Lukka

Hyundai i20 R5


9 M. Østberg

T. Eriksen

Citroén C3 R5


10 P.Tidemand

P. Barth

Škoda Fabia R5


2020 FIA World Rally Championship for Manufacturers’ Standings
After round 7

1 Hyundai Shell Mobis World Rally Team


2 Toyota Gazoo Racing World Rally Team


3 M-Sport Ford World Rally Team


4 Hyundai 2C Competition


2020 FIA World Rally Championship for Drivers’ Standings
After round 7

1.   Ogier - 122
2.   Evans - 114
3.   Tänak - 105
4.   Neuville - 87

5.   Rovanpera - 80
6.   Lappi - 52
7.   Suninen - 44
8.   Sordo - 42
9.   Breen - 25
10.   Loeb - 24

All results remain subject to official FIA confirmation.

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View comments on the GRM forums
captdownshift (Forum Supporter)
captdownshift (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand UltimaDork
12/7/20 2:27 p.m.

Hyundai and Toyota tease us so badly by not giving us their best rally inspired offerings, then proclaim that young people aren't interested in automotive performance. 

Colin Wood
Colin Wood Associate Editor
12/7/20 3:13 p.m.

In reply to captdownshift (Forum Supporter) :

I feel that pain, though I'll be the first to admit that even if they were offered here, I wouldn't be able to afford them (at least not without bankrupting my family).

Someday when I make my millions, though, I'll make sure to call up Mr. Toyota and Mr. Hyundai. 

Pete. (l33t FS)
Pete. (l33t FS) GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
12/7/20 3:17 p.m.
captdownshift (Forum Supporter) said:

Hyundai and Toyota tease us so badly by not giving us their best rally inspired offerings, then proclaim that young people aren't interested in automotive performance. 

Isn't the i20 just some plebe hatchback?


Ford sold Zetec powered Focuses here for years and people didn't go WRC-crazy over ZX3s.  Skoda wasn't sold in the US but the chassis-mate to the Octavia, the A4-chassis VW Jetta, was sold here in bazillions, even with the 1.8t engine, and people didn't buy them because they were omg rallycar.  (WRC rules said the block and crank had to be OE parts.  Not sure about the Skoda, but the WRC Focus used a Zetec block and a crank from some Diesel that was based on the CVH/Zetec architecture.)

Vajingo Reader
12/7/20 7:55 p.m.

In reply to Pete. (l33t FS) :

Pretty sure people didn't buy them because they lacked the two things people love about rally cars- AWD, and a Turbo.

Look at the STI, look at the EVO. "young people aren't interested", my ass. 

captdownshift (Forum Supporter)
captdownshift (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand UltimaDork
12/7/20 8:26 p.m.

In reply to Pete. (l33t FS) :

A 200hp 6 spd manual with a proper limited slip plebe hatchback

So exactly the market Ford vacated when dropping the ST options, which suffered because Ford can't make a automatic transmission that doesn't implode in the not ST cars. 


I understand not everybody can drop $30,000 to $35,000 on a new hot hatch, but performance wise unless you want to a mullet and get a 3700+lb muscle sled posing as a pony car, there's not much that punches at the performance potential of the I20N or Yaris GR, and what does isn't capable of being a daily driver for most people even if they don't have children. The Veloster N, Golf R and Civic R are the closest that we have to either of these two offerings and they do quite well with their cult following, they're also significantly larger and are more often cross-shopped with smaller less powerful rear wheel drive offerings, then anything larger. Your Veloster N, Golf R and Civic R owners are more likely to pay attention to formula drift, F1 or WRC then they are NHRA or Nascar, The whole segment is different than the mustang and Camaro buyer. There's a much larger overlap amongst those buyers with Miata and Frisbee owners. In terms of where they go for meets who, they hang out with, vendors they shop from, and what automotive related activities they do. Marketing amongst automotive execs in North America is abysmal, they seem to have forgotten that there's nothing wrong with having a halo car that costs less than $40,000. 

Feedyurhed UltraDork
12/8/20 4:58 a.m.

Very cool. I was a rabid WRC follower at one time and it was primarily the reason I began my love and ownership of Subarus.  If I recall correctly the WRC series use to be covered on Speedvision (or one of it's derivatives) and I watched every race enthusiastically.  When Mitsu and Subie dropped out my interest waned and then the series was no longer carried in North America, or I couldn't get it at any rate. I miss those days. Congrats to Hyundai.

Pete. (l33t FS)
Pete. (l33t FS) GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
12/8/20 8:29 a.m.
Vajingo said:

In reply to Pete. (l33t FS) :

Pretty sure people didn't buy them because they lacked the two things people love about rally cars- AWD, and a Turbo.

Look at the STI, look at the EVO. "young people aren't interested", my ass. 

But that isn't what the street version of WRCars are.

ProDarwin MegaDork
12/8/20 9:06 a.m.
captdownshift (Forum Supporter) said:

In reply to Pete. (l33t FS) :

A 200hp 6 spd manual with a proper limited slip plebe hatchback

So exactly the market Ford vacated when dropping the ST options, which suffered because Ford can't make a automatic transmission that doesn't implode in the not ST cars. 

Can Hyundai?  Last I heard, the DCT mated to the 1.6t is no beacon of reliability.

IMO, i30N would be a great thing here and people might actually want it.  Hell, I would be interested in an i30 (elantra hatchback) with the 1.6t drivetrain, but they are damn near impossible to find.  The i20 is more accent sized (although somehow still the same weight as a Veloster from what I just read).  I do not see it selling well here, and I think Hyundai knows that.


Vigo (Forum Supporter)
Vigo (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
12/8/20 9:45 a.m.

I am very pro-Hyundai at this point. 

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