Hyundai World Rally Team Ready for Monte Carlo Rally Debut

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Hyundai has announced its full driver line-up for its return to the World Rally Championship at the Monte Carlo Rally next month with the i20 World Rally Car.

The Hyundai i20 WRC is powered by a 1.6 litre turbocharged engine producing 200 kW

We have worked tremendously hard to get where we are today and to be able to launch our new WRC team to the world.

The Hyundai Shell World Rally Team will be headed by Belgian Thierry Neuville, who finished runner-up in this year’s championship, with Spaniard Dani Sordo, Chris Atkinson from Australia and Finn Juho Hanninen, sharing the second car.

The Hyundai i20 WRC is powered by a 1.6 litre turbocharged engine producing 200 kW, with a six speed sequential gearbox and four wheel drive.

Sordo will drive at Monte Carlo and probably the other tarmac rounds later in the year; Hannien will start on the ice and snow of Sweden, while Atkinson has been contracted for his home event and will share the other gravel rallies with the Finn.

"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,” said Mr Nandan. "If all goes well, we will hope to be competing for occasional podiums as the year progresses."

Neuville, the “find” of 2013 put together a string of podium finishes in the second half of the season, is fizzing about the new challenge and opportunity.

"I am really excited at the prospect of helping Hyundai Motorsport to integrate itself into the tough WRC environment," said Neuville. "It is an honour to be representing a manufacturer like Hyundai Motor Company but also to have the extra responsibility of leading the team in our first season. I am looking forward to Monte Carlo. I can already feel the professionalism, motivation and passion of this team so although it will be a steep learning curve, I am sure it will be a positive one."

"It's been a pleasure to be part of Hyundai Motorsport in testing this season and to have had the chance to contribute to the development of the i20 WRC," said Atkinson. "It's fantastic to be able to carry on with the team into 2014, our first WRC season, and to be able to drive in Rally Australia later in the year."

Hyundai Motor Company also used the occasion of its WRC launch to announce that Hyundai "N" will be used to symbolise Hyundai's high performance technology on both the i20 WRC car and future mass-produced high performance cars.

Linked directly to the company's renewed involvement in WRC, "N" brings together Hyundai Motor's technology and innovation with the learning from motorsport to provide a new experience for customers.

Representing the company's passion for high performance, "N" takes inspiration in both name and spirit from the Namyang R&D Centre that has collaborated with Hyundai Motorsport on the development of the i20 WRC. The Namyang R&D Centre is at the heart of the technological innovation and development that serves as the driving force behind Hyundai's growth as a global brand.

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Matt McLaren

Andy Sinclair