Hyundai Motorsport is ready to begin its fourth year of competition in the World Rally Championship (WRC). This will happen at the season-opening Rallye Monte Carlo.
The opening event of the 13-round 2017 season will see the debut of the team’s latest rally challenger. The Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC was built to meet revised technical regulations introduced for this year’s competition.
The new car was launched at a static media event in Monza last month. It already amassed over 6,000km in development tests. The regulation modifications’ aim is enhancing the overall spectacle of the WRC even further. Because of them 2017-specification cars look more aggressive than their predecessors. Changes focussed on improving aerodynamic and mechanical grip, increasing engine power up to 380bhp, reducing car weight, as well as the re-introduction of the active centre differential.
Hyundai Motorsport will field a three-car line-up in all rounds of the WRC this season
The team will run under the unified Hyundai Shell Mobis World Rally Team name. Hayden Paddon/John Kennard, Thierry Neuville/Nicolas Gilsoul and Dani Sordo/Marc Martí will compete in cars 4, 5 and 6 respectively. The two highest-placed crews from each team will score points for the Manufacturers’ Championship in each event.
2016 was Hyundai’s most competitive season to date and it included two victories for the team. Now Hyundai Motorsport hopes to demonstrate its ability to fight for the WRC title. It promises to be an enthralling battle with Citroën, Ford and Toyota also looking to make their own mark on the Championship.
Monte-Carlo will offer the first competitive test for the Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC. The route is significantly modified in comparison with last year. Many of Monte’s iconic locations, such as the Col de Turini, remain on the itinerary so it will lose none of its excitement or challenge.
With preparations for Monte Carlo beginning last November, the team carried out its most recent pre-event testing last week in the French Alps. All three crews got valuable time behind the wheel of the Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC.
Team Principal Michel Nandan said:
“This year’s Monte-Carlo rally promises to be one of the most exciting and unpredictable. Revised regulations, new cars and renewed manufacturer programmes make the 2017 World Rally Championship one of the most highly anticipated ever. We can’t wait to see our Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC out on the stages for the first time.”
“We’ve brought together all of the experiences from our first three seasons in WRC and hope that we will be able to fight at the front with our new car. We’ve accumulated 6,000km of development testing at different locations within Europe since April last year, as well as recent tests specifically for Monte. But there’s no substitute for the real thing! We have important stability with our three crews, all of whom are looking to build on our most successful season. Monte will be a stern first test against tough opposition, but we are confident and will give it everything we’ve got.”