Four cars for Hyundai?
Hyundai Motorsport could enter four drivers in the final two rounds of the WRC season ahead of a possible four-car campaign in the 2018 championship.
Team principal Michel Nandan hinted that title challenger Thierry Neuville, new signing Andreas Mikkelsen, Hayden Paddon and Dani Sordo could all be entered at Dayinsure Wales Rally GB (26 - 29 October) and Kennards Hire Rally Australia (16 - 19 November).
He also confirmed the Korean manufacturer was considering a four-car team for 2018, when Mikkelsen is expected to join the squad alongside the other trio, who are already contracted.
Speaking to WRC Live’s Becs Williams, Nandan said the availability of spare parts meant it was not possible to enter four drivers for the mixed surface RallyRACC Catalunya - Rally de España (5 - 8 October), where Mikkelsen will replace Paddon.
“We’re quite deep in the season and have a certain amount of parts, and enough to do like it should be for the championship, with spares. Why it was not considered for Spain is that you have Tarmac and gravel so you need more parts, and it was not reasonable,” he said.
Hyundai recruited Mikkelsen to enhance its flagging title bid in the manufacturers’ series, in which it lies 64 points behind M-Sport World Rally Team. Results in Spain will determine the entry strategy for the gravel rounds in Britain and Australia.
“We have looked at it and we could put four cars. It doesn’t mean it will be like that but we’re looking at that because it’s also in the interests of Hyundai for the championship.
“We have to try to do it and there we could do it. It depends where we will be (in the championship). I think a lot of things still need to be done, even if there are only three rallies left, but we will see how the situation will be,” added Nandan.
Looking ahead, Nandan said 2018’s strategy would be finalised shortly.
“We have our three drivers from this year under contract until the end of 2018. Nothing is still done with Andreas at the moment.
“It’s true we are looking at the possibility of four cars but for this we need to have some approval because budget is concerned for that. This should be decided in the next weeks,” he explained.
Listen to Nandan’s interview with Becs Williams here.
Mikkelsen joins Hyundai
Norwegian agrees deal for final three rounds
Breen misses Spain
Meeke confirmed for mixed surface rally
New C3 R5 breaks cover
French manufacturer's latest challenger will start testing this week