Friday | 13 May 2016

Abbring aims for points in 2016 debut

Kevin Abbring has targeted a points finish at next week’s Vodafone Rally de Portugal (19 - 22 May) when he returns to the WRC for the first time in six months.

The 27-year-old Dutchman has been focused on test and development duties with Hyundai Motorsport this year, but is back in action for the first of three WRC outings in a 2015-specification i20 World Rally Car.

Abbring has tackled the gravel rally twice before when it was based in the south, but this is his first time on the northern roads.

“I have previous experience of rallying in Portugal from JWRC several years ago, but the stages in the north of the country are new to me,” he said. “It feels a bit like I am starting again but I just have to focus on my driving and do the best job I can for the team.

“It’s another learning experience for me so we have to take things stage by stage. I really want to finish in the top 10 and score some points, but I see Portugal as a step towards Sardinia (Rally Italia Sardegna, 9 - 12 June) where I really hope I can do more.”

Abbring partners Thierry Neuville in the Korean manufacturer’s second-string Hyundai Mobis World Rally Team for his first event since last November’s Wales Rally GB (below). He has been busy testing the team’s new customer-focused i20 R5, which is due for homologation this summer.

“I am very excited to be returning to competitive WRC action. As a test driver, it’s good to get competitive kilometres under your belt as well as all the development work, so I can’t wait to get started,” added Abbring, who will have a pre-rally test in Portugal on Monday.

• Hyundai has nominated Dani Sordo and Hayden Paddon in its lead team for Rally Italia Sardegna. Abbring and Neuville will drive for the Mobis squad.

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