Hyundai WRC team set to rock 'n rally

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IOL mot pic dec11 WRC Hyundai 2

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Hyundai i20 WRC resplendent in full warpaint.

Hyundai has introduced its full 2014 World Rally Championship line-up, ahead of the team's debut at the Monte Carlo Rally in January.

The Korean carmaker has set realistic targets for its debut season, with the primary objective of bringing both cars home in every round.

Team principal Michel Nandan explained: “We have worked tremendously hard to get here; in less than a year, we've built and tested a brand new WRC-specification car and set up a professional team in a modern motorsport facility.

“What we want is to finish each rally with both cars and build up a database of experience so we can compete for rally wins in the future - and if all goes well, we hope to be competing for occasional podiums as the year progresses.”

The team also has a new title partner.

It will be known officially as the Hyundai Shell World Rally Team, with Thierry Neuville as lead driver. Juho Hänninen will drive the second i20 WRC at most of the rounds, with the vastly experienced Dani Sordo taking over for the 'Monte' and test driver Chris Atkinson confirmed for Rally Australia.

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Top crew Thierry Neuville, right, and navigator Nicholas Gilsoul will lead the charge.

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Neuville said: “Hyundai's rookie season in WRC will be a steep learning curve but I'm sure it will be a positive one.”

Hänninen agreed: “I was the first to drive the Hyundai i20 WRC, back in May, so I feel really close to the project and the team, and I'm looking forward to competing in Rally Sweden.”

Sordo commented: “This may be a young team but there's already a high level of professionalism to be seen, ready for the season-opening Rallye Monte-Carlo.

Atkinson said he had really enjoyed being part of the test programme and contributing to the development of the i20 WRC.

“So it's fantastic to be able to carry on with the team into 2014 and to be able to drive in Rally Australia later in the year.”

The team has come a long way since the first version of the i20 WRC car premiered at the Paris motor show in September 2012, with more than 90 staff from 18 countries.

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Camouflaged i20 WRC mule kicks up dust in testing.

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A mix of experienced Hyundai engineers and motorsport professionals, they've built, tested and prepared two rally cars, ready to rock 'n roll in the south of France less than a month from now.


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