Kevin Abbring is a Dutch rally driver who recorded 38 starts in the FIA World Rally Championship since his debut in 2007. Most recently, he was driving his private Ford Fiesta R5 in three WRC events in 2018.
Previously, he raced in the WRC with private teams or as a member of factory teams (Volkswagen Motorsport, Peugeot Rally Academy, Hyundai Motorsport) but never on a full-time schedule. He scored two Junior WRC victories in 2009 and 2010, and a couple of podiums in the European Rally Championship in 2014.
Starting a career in rallycross, rally debut in 2007
Born in January 1989 as a son of rally driver Edwin Abbring, Kevin started his career in rallycross, competing in the Dutch Ford RST series in 2005 and 2006.
In 2007, Kevin made a debut in the Dutch Rally Championship, driving a Mitsubishi Colt CZT for KNAF Talent First team and scoring several class victories. In August 2007, he also made a WRC debut, driving KNAF's Mitsubishi Lancer Evo IX at ADAC Rallye Deutschland. He was 41st overall and 10th in N4 class.
Kevin Abbring in a Renault Clio at 2008 ADAC Rallye Deutschland
Three seasons, two victories in the Junior WRC
In 2008, Abbring expanded his WRC programme to six events in the Junior WRC competition. He was driving a Renault Clio R3 for KNAF Talent First team and finished 13th in the final standings. In 2009, Abbring continued to race in the Junior WRC category, scoring his first podium at Rally Portugal and then the first victory at Rally Poland. At the end of the season, he was fourth in the points. His navigator was Erwin Mombaerts.
One more Junior WRC season followed in 2010, again in a Renault Clio R3 of KNAF Talent First team. He was on a podium at Rally Turkey and then clinched his second JWRC victory at Rally Portugal. At the end of the season, he was fifth in the points.
Outside JWRC, Abbring participated in several national events and IRC rallies with different cars (Nissan 350Z, BMW 325i or Subaru Impreza STi).
Kevin Abbring in a Škoda Fabia S2000 at 2012 Wales Rally GB
Joining Volkswagen Motorsport in 2011
In 2011, Abbring raced in a Citroen DS3 R3T in different European competitions. Then, in October 2011, he won the Driver of the Academy Award in the inaugural year of the FIA Institute Young Driver Excellence Academy.
The next milestone step in Abbring's career was the Wales Rally in November 2011, where he was driving a Škoda Fabia S2000 for Volkswagen Motorsport. He finished 12th overall and the best in Class 2, securing a place in Volkswagen Motorsport for the next season.
In 2012, Abbring was a part of Volkswagen's preparation programme before team's entrance into the World Rally Championship. Together with Sebastien Ogier and Andreas Mikkelsen, he was driving Škoda Fabia S2000. Abbring participated in four WRC events, finishing best at Rallye Monte-Carlo where he was 12th overall and the first in Class 2.
In 2014, Abbring was driving a Peugeot 208 T16 in the European Rally Championship
ERC season with Peugeot Rally Academy
In 2013, Abbring was completely out of WRC, spending a season in the French Rally Championship. Driving a Peugeot 208 R2, he won Volant Peugeot one-make competition after he won four times in seven rallies.
In 2014, Abbring deserved a place in the Peugeot Rally Academy and raced with Peugeot 208 T16 in the European Rally Championship. In seven ERC events, he recorded five DNFs and two podiums. Outside ERC, he made a one-off appearance in the World Rally Championship, driving a Peugeot 208 T16 at Rallye de France Alsace and finishing first in RC2 class.
Kevin Abbring worked with Hyundai from 2015 to 2017
Development driver for Hyundai Motorsport
In 2015, Abbring joined Hyundai Motorsport as a development and test driver but also participated in five WRC events. He was driving a Hyundai i20 WRC in Sweden, Poland, Germany, France and Wales, finishing best in the 11th place at Rally Sweden and ADAC Rallye Deutschland.
In 2016, Abbring made six WRC starts with Hyundai, including two in their new R5 car. He took his first WRC points with the ninth place at Rally Finland and then improved his career-best result with the seventh place at Rally Catalunya. The highlight of the year was a victory at French event Rallye du Var in a Hyundai i20 R5.
Abbring's last rally with Hyundai was the 2017 Rallye Monte-Carlo. Driving a Hyundai i20 R5, he finished 13th in RC2 class.
In 2017, Abbring raced with Peugeot 208 T16 in the Belgian championship
Victory at Ypres Rally in 2017
Later in 2017, Abbring was driving a Peugeot 208 T16 in the Belgian Rally Championship, finishing third in the points with two wins on his account. He won Rallye de Wallonie and then Ypres Rally, becoming the first ever Dutch winner of the greatest Belgian rally event.
In 2018, Abbring returned to WRC with privately-entered Ford Fiesta R5, recording DNFs in all three events he started – Rallye Monte-Carlo, Rally Sweden and Rally Portugal.
Two wins in the TCR Benelux
Outside rallying, Abbring raced occasionally in some circuit racing competitions, such were Volkswagen Endurance Cup in 2009 or Volkswagen Scirocco R Cup in 2012, and then spent a full season in the TCR Benelux Series in 2017.
Driving a Peugeot 308 Cup for DG Sport and sharing a car with Aurelien Comte, he was a race winner two times and finished fourth in the final standings.