Hyundai confirmed Hanninen's identity today, and announced that the former Super 2000 World Rally Champion had been signed as an official test driver for the rest of the season.
Six months ahead of its planned debut at Rallye Monte-Carlo in January 2014, Hyundai is in the process of carrying out an intensive test programme to evaluate and develop the i20 WRC from its base in Alzenau, Germany.
Hyundai Motorsport team principal Michel Nandan said he was pleased to welcome Juho to the programme. “I’m sure his experience and background will contribute to the project and I’m happy with the job he’s done so far.”
A second test driver will be announced in the near future, with confirmation of the team’s opening season line-up expected at the end of 2013.
“We have decided to work with different drivers with unique skills and capabilities this year, which will provide us with valuable feedback for 2014,” added Nandan.
Hanninen, who will drive Ford Fiesta RS at Rally Finland next month, said he was delighted to working with Hyundai: “It’s a fantastic opportunity to work closely to a manufacturer and to give my contribution to this great challenge.
“The first run with the i20 WRC was quite positive for me; I’m very impressed with the work the team has done so far in such an incredibly short space of time. I feel comfortable with everyone in the team and I look forward to carry on working with them in the next six months.”