Text: AutoIndustriya.com Team / Photos: Hyundai Press | posted December 11, 2013 15:44
Hyundai returns to World Rally Championship after ten year hiatus
Hyundai Motorsport officially unveiled its 2014 FIA World Rally Championship lineup in Frankfurt. The Hyundai i20 WRC marks the Korean carmaker’s return to the top-rank rally series after a ten-year hiatus. The team makes its official track debut in Monte Carlo next month for the opening round of the 2014 WRC season.
At the launch, the team unveiled its full driver line-up which is headed by Thierry Neuville, the team’s lead driver. Juho Hänninen, who was earlier announced to participated in selected events was joined by Dani Sordo and Chris Atkinson, who will also tandem with Neuville at several events during the season, with Sordo running on Rallye Monte-Carlo and Atkinson confirmed for Rally Australia.
“We have worked tremendously hard to get where we are today and to be able to launch our new WRC team to the world,” explains Team Principal of Hyundai Motorsport GmbH, Michel Nandan.
“In less than one year, we have built and tested a brand new WRC-specification car, the Hyundai i20 WRC, and established a professional team and modern motorsport facility. It’s a huge accomplishment but we know that we have a lot to learn in our first season. Our aims for 2014 are realistic: we want to finish each rally with both cars and build up a database of information and experience so we can develop ourselves into prospective rally winners in the future. If all goes well, we will hope to be competing for occasional podiums as the year progresses,” Nandan added.
The launch event held at the home of Hyundai Motor Europe in Offenbach, is just a short drive from Hyundai Motorsport’s facility in Alzenau, where final preparations are taking place for the team’s rally debut in just over one month. This is the second time the i20 WRC was shown to public since its debut at the Paris Motor Show in September of 2012.
The team officially announced its 2014 title partner, Shell, which will see the team named Hyundai Shell World Rally Team. The multi-year partnership will see Shell Helix-Ultra logos adorn the Hyundai i20 WRC at all WRC events. Over 90 motorsport specialists and experienced Hyundai personnel from 18 nationalities will represent the perfect mix of Hyundai and motorsport ideals.