Hyundai secures M-Sport WRC technical veteran Loriaux

Hyundai Motorsport has confirmed the appointment of 19-year M-Sport veteran Christian Loriaux to its technical line-up in the World Rally Championship.

Hyundai secures M-Sport WRC technical veteran Loriaux

The Belgian, who will work as an external technical adviser, officially joined the Alzenau-based squad this week.

The move brings to an end a successful 19-year spell Loriaux enjoyed with former employer M-Sport Ford who has already started the process of trying to shore up its research and development operations by recruiting a senior designer.

In his role with Hyundai Motorsport, Loriaux will spearhead the development of its 2022 hybrid-powered Rally1 car.

Hyundai was the last of the three World Rally Championship teams to receive the go-ahead for work to begin on the project.

After weeks of uncertainty, confirmation to proceed with the i20 N-based car only came from the company’s board back in March.

Since then, work has been gathering pace despite the hybrid kit that is central to the new generation of World Cars having to be sent back to its German developer, Compact Dynamics.

Announcing the appointment of Loriaux, a spokesperson for Hyundai Motorsport told Motorsport.com: “Christian Loriaux has joined the team as an external technical advisor, starting on Monday, 3rd May in Alzenau.

“He will advise the existing Technical Team and focus mainly on the development of our 2022 WRC car development.

“His technical knowledge and reputation will be welcome to support our programme on which we will communicate in due course,” they added.

Christian Loriaux, M-Sport technical director, tries on four sombreros

Christian Loriaux, M-Sport technical director, tries on four sombreros

Photo by: Ford Motor Company

Loriaux’s stock rose at Prodrive, with his biggest success coming in the shape of the Subaru Impreza WRC2000 – a car that was 80% new when it hit the stages – and won – at Rally de Portugal in 2000 in the hands of the late Richard Burns.

After 11 years working out of Banbury, Loriaux transferred to M-Sport where his influence on lowering the car’s centre of gravity was evident to see on the Ford Focus RS WRC03 and its successor, the Mk2 Focus RS WRC.

At the heart of this rebalancing of weight, the co-driver would sit lower and further back in the cabin – an idea that was quickly adopted by rival teams and continues to be instrumental to this day.

Loriaux was also involved with Bentley’s GT race programme, with a large element of this being based out of Dovenby Hall.

Loriaux will not cut his ties with M-Sport entirely, however, because he is set to remain involved with Bentley Motorsport’s GT3 race activities.

The latest project he has been working on is the Continental GT3 Pikes Peak – a renewable fuel-powered car designed to take on the 12.42-mile Pikes Peak mountain course at the end of June.

It is hoped he will be able to make the trip to see the road-based model take on the Time Attack.

M-Sport Ford Fiesta WRC Rally1

M-Sport Ford Fiesta WRC Rally1

Photo by: M-Sport

Loriaux exit won't affect M-Sport Rally1 development

M-Sport’s Rally1 project will not be affected by the loss of their head designer Christian Loriaux, according to team boss Malcolm Wilson.

Of the three teams, M-Sport was the first to fire up its test mule, with initial running taking place around Greystoke Forest in March before this was ramped up at a gravel test, north of Barcelona, last week.

It ran to 2022-specification, with Matthew Wilson – M-Sport’s recognised test driver – collecting data on the electric-motor and batteries. Team protege Adrien Fourmaux also sampled the next-generation car.

“The M-Sport Ford WRC programme is currently being overseen by Chris Williams and his team so this change in direction for Christian doesn’t affect our development programme at all,” said Wilson.

“I have no doubt that Christian will be a great asset to the Hyundai team and I wish him all the best in that role – but it is certainly not the end of the road or his journey with M-Sport,” he added.

shares
comments

Related video

Oliver Solberg to make top flight WRC return in Italy

Previous article

Oliver Solberg to make top flight WRC return in Italy

Next article

Hyundai signs Neuville, Tanak to new multi-year WRC deals

Hyundai signs Neuville, Tanak to new multi-year WRC deals
Load comments
How Hyundai's broken record gave Toyota a special Sardinia 1-2 Prime

How Hyundai's broken record gave Toyota a special Sardinia 1-2

For the second WRC gravel rally in a row, a promising Friday for Hyundai turned into desolation as Toyota gratefully picked up the pieces. This time it was championship leader Sebastien Ogier who took full advantage after Ott Tanak and Dani Sordo retired to score a memorable victory, having swept the road on the first two days

WRC
Jun 7, 2021
Why there's no easy fix for Hyundai's operational Achilles Heel Prime

Why there's no easy fix for Hyundai's operational Achilles Heel

Hyundai Motorsport boss Andrea Adamo was vocal in his criticism of his team's tyre choices on Rally Croatia and declared that he "had better move my ass and solve it". Doing so will be vital to getting Hyundai's 2021 WRC title hopes back on track, but finding the root of the problem won't be the work of a moment

WRC
Apr 28, 2021
How Ogier survived road crash drama to triumph in Croatia Prime

How Ogier survived road crash drama to triumph in Croatia

Sebastien Ogier was already in an incredibly tight fight at Rally Croatia before a surprise collision with public road traffic at the start of the final day. But the defending champion held his nerve to take a narrow victory and create further World Rally Championship history

WRC
Apr 26, 2021
Why WRC's hybrid path could leave it at a crossroads Prime

Why WRC's hybrid path could leave it at a crossroads

With all three major manufacturers committing to the World Rally Championship’s hybrid era from 2022, the future of the series is assured for now, but it could lead to trickier twists and turns further down the road

WRC
Apr 1, 2021
How Tanak froze out the competition at the Arctic Rally Prime

How Tanak froze out the competition at the Arctic Rally

Ott Tanak made up for a disastrous Monte Carlo Rally by leading all the way on the snow-kissed stages of the Arctic Rally Finland and in the process hit back at an event Toyota had been expected to dominate…

WRC
Mar 1, 2021
What to look out for in the 2021 WRC Prime

What to look out for in the 2021 WRC

As the 2021 World Rally Championship prepares to launch amid tight COVID-19 restrictions in Monte Carlo, here are the eight things unrelated to the pandemic that you should keep an eye on this year

WRC
Jan 21, 2021
Evans on the talking points of WRC 2021 Prime

Evans on the talking points of WRC 2021

He came close to the title last year, and now Toyota's Elfyn Evans gives his verdict on what to expect from 2021 as the World Rally Championship prepares to reconvene for the Monte Carlo season opener.

WRC
Jan 20, 2021
Why Britain's continued WRC absence is a wake-up call Prime

Why Britain's continued WRC absence is a wake-up call

With Rally GB dropping off the World Rally Championship calendar for the second year in a row, one of Britain's best-attended sporting events faces an uncertain future. It's an unfortunate situation that points to troubling times ahead

WRC
Jan 12, 2021