Hyundai has strengthened its team as it continues to prepare for a return to the FIA World Rally Championship in 2014.
Team principal Michel Nandan, who heads up the Korean manufacturer’s WRC programme at a new base in Alzenau in Germany, has filled several key positions as he continues to develop the i20 WRC ahead of testing later in the season.
Bertrand Vallat has been announced as chief designer, although the Frenchman has been working on the i20 since December. His most recent role was at Peugeot Sport where he was involved with the 207 S2000.
Stephane Girard has joined the squad as engine manager. He has extensive experience from previous roles at Peugeot Sport, Subaru World Rally Team and Citroen Sport.
Later this month Alain Penasse will take up the position of team manager. The 51-year-old Belgian has worked with Toyota Team Europe, Peugeot Sport and Michelin, as well as organising the Ypres Rally.
“We’ve been evolving rapidly since the beginning of the year and made great progress in filling all the main roles to establish our core team,” said Nandan.
“We’re facing a big and exciting challenge in building a team from scratch and we have now only nine months to prepare for next year. I’m now surrounded by the best people in the business and I’m confident we’ll be ready to meet our ambitious goal to be ready at the start of the 2014 FIA World Rally Championship.
“While we have a very busy year ahead of us, I believe that team-work together with shared commitment and passion for motorsport are the keys for success,” he added.