Hyundai Motorsport has had a productive summer across all areas of the business with exciting developments on the company’s FIA World Rally Championship (WRC) programme as well as accelerating its Customer Racing activities.
Looking ahead to 2017...
The team will begin testing the final specification of its 2017 WRC challenger this week after five months of development. The team began work on the new car back in April, using a mule for initial tests. Since June, a second evolution of the car was put through its paces in private testing. Kevin Abbring has carried out most of the driving duties to date, although both Hayden Paddon and Dani Sordo got their first taste of the new car after Rallye Deutschland.
...but still pushing in 2016
Hyundai Motorsport’s trio of driver crews have all been in testing action since Rallye Deutschland. A pre-event test in Catalunya was held in the final week of August in preparation for Rally Spain, while the drivers will head to Corsica next week to prepare for the tenth round of the season, Tour de Corse - Rallye de France.
A Surprise Break
With no Rally China to contest, the team’s driver crews have found themselves with a longer-than-expected break before Corsica. All three drivers, Dani Sordo, Hayden Paddon and Thierry Neuville, have used the opportunity to spend time with their respective friends and family. Sordo has been relaxing at home after his well-earned German podium, but is looking forward to getting back in the cockpit of the New Generation i20 WRC in testing. Neuville has carried out a number of activities for his sponsors, including a visit to the Belgian Formula One race at Spa-Francorchamps at the end of August. Paddon, meanwhile, has made the long trip over to New Zealand, where he has been catching up with his home comforts before jetting back to Europe for testing and the next round of the Championship.
From China to Australia
The cancellation of Rally China has required a change in the team’s logistics arrangements. The six 12-metre containers, which are shipped at the start of the year to cover the overseas events, are now sent directly to Australia for the final round of the season. A total of approximately 50 tonnes of material is sent by freight, including recce cars, spare parts, tools and the service area and hospitality equipment. The three New Generation i20 WRC cars will be sent by air from Europe together with 4,500kg of parts shortly before the last rally.
With Corsica, Spain and GB rounds of the WRC separated by a week each, and with Australia shortly after, it will be the busiest period for the team. The mechanics will face the unenviable task of rebuilding the New Generation i20 WRCs in only four days between each event.
R5 set for Corsica WRC2 debut
Tour de Corse will also represent an important milestone for Hyundai Motorsport’s Customer Racing department. The New Generation i20 R5 will make its WRC2 debut with three cars entered into the rally, subject to a timely completion of the homologation process. Kevin Abbring and Seb Marshall will be at the wheel of the car they helped to develop while Stéphane Sarrazin/Jacques-Julien Renucci and Fabio Andolfi/Manuel Fenoli will drive the first cars delivered to customer teams.
A Word from Team Principal Michel Nandan
“The summer months have offered little respite for our team as we enter an exciting, but busy period for all of us in Alzenau. We are pushing hard to continue our most successful WRC season, as we seek to score more podiums in the final four rounds. Our crews have a busy testing period to prepare for Corsica and Spain. We have also been preparing for next season with ongoing development of our 2017 car. The next test will be with the final specification so it will be an important part of our preparatory phase. Finally, we celebrate an important milestone in our Customer Racing activities, as three cars are entered in Corsica, one by Hyundai Motorsport and two by customer teams. It will be the moment where we truly see the fruits of everyone’s hard work, These are proud moments for everyone involved with Hyundai Motorsport.”