Hyundai Motorsport revealed the New Generation i20 WRC
Hyundai Motorsport revealed the New Generation i20 WRC in special launch event at team’s factory in Alzenau, Germany. Drivers line-up for 2016 season will be unchanged, with Dani Sordo, Hayden Paddon and Thierry Neuville at all 14 rounds of the FIA World Rally Championship. The trio of drivers will share the #3, #4 and #20 cars during the season. The precise car-driver composition will differ from event to event, offering the team full flexibility in its Championship strategy. Fourth driver again will be Kevin Abbring, who will compete at selected events, but his primary focus will be on testing the car for 2017 season.
The presentation of the new WRC car also represents the new beginning for Hyundai Motorsport, because Alzenau factory will be the headquarter for Hyundai’s customer racing programme with newly built R5 car, which is also based on the New Generation i20. The new WRC car is the result of the Hyundai Motorsport’s evolution since entering World Rally Championship in 2013. The New Generation i20 WRC has already accumulated 8,000km of testing prior to today’s launch, and has proven to be quicker than its predecessor, with the team’s drivers also praising improved drivability.
Team Principal Michel Nandan said: “It is a special moment for all of us at Hyundai Motorsport to reveal the New Generation i20 WRC to the world today in our own home. We are entering an exciting phase in our young team’s journey, which I think will reinforce our commitment and ambition in the competitive WRC community. We have come a long way since our inaugural foundation year, and our performance in last season’s Championship gave us renewed optimism for the future. The New Generation i20 WRC is the product of a full year of development and with a more experienced team of staff, we should now raise our objectives to be more confident to fight at the front. The competition remains strong and we know our manufacturer rivals will not ease in their pursuit for victory but we want to take the fight to them in 2016.”
Dani Sordo said: “I’m very motivated and can’t wait to start another season with Hyundai Motorsport behind the wheel of the New Generation i20 WRC. We had a reasonable season overall this year; we showed some good speed and set some promising times, although on a few rallies our final position didn’t reflect our pace during the event. For sure we will keep working hard to show what we are capable of achieving. We will take our experience into 2016 aiming always to be fighting for top positions and, hopefully, battling for wins. I have a lot of faith in the New Generation i20 WRC, which is a car with a completely new philosophy compared to the one we’ve used up to now – better and faster, with a good engine and chassis. I believe 2016 will be a good year for me and for the team!”
Hayden Paddon said: “Everyone in the team is looking forward to an exciting 2016. With the combination of the new car and another year of experience under our belts, I am confident we can fight at the front – especially in the gravel events. 2016 is another step towards our ultimate goal and part of that process is winning our first rally. I’m excited about the New Generation i20 WRC. In the tests we have carried out so far, the car has been a big step up in all areas from the previous version, and it really suits my driving style better. While testing has been very positive, we never really know quite how we will stack up against the competition until we are on the stages – so in that regard we are all anxious to get the season started.”
Thierry Neuville said: “I’m really looking forward to the new season – my third with Hyundai Motorsport. It will be like a fresh start for me as 2015 was a difficult year for me where I had some bad luck and made some mistakes. I come out of it stronger and more motivated than ever and I’m really eager to start the season with our New Generation i20 WRC. The objective for us will be always the same, to be as close as possible to the top and hopefully be able to fight for some victories along the season. I have a lot of confidence in the new car, it’s all new compared to the current version and I’m positive we will be closer to our main rivals.”