New recruit Bryan Bouffier will get his first taste of Hyundai’s i20 World Rally Car in competition when he tackles this weekend’s Rallye Antibes Côte d’Azur in France.
The Frenchman was initially left out of the team’s line-up for 2014 after playing a key role in testing last year. However, he rejoined the squad last month to help develop the 2015 i20 WRC and assist with preparations for the asphalt rounds in the second half of this season.
Antibes is the fourth round of the French national asphalt championship and will allow Hyundai to compare the i20’s sealed surface performance against several World Rally Cars, including championship leader Julien Maurin’s Ford Fiesta RS.
“Basically we are taking Rallye Antibes as a test for the upcoming asphalt events later in the season,” said a Hyundai Motorsport spokeswoman. “It's a good opportunity for us to test some components in a competitive environment.
“We choose Rallye Antibes as it fits quite well in our test/rally schedules and also the French Rally Championship is one of the few that still allows World Rally Cars.”
The rally features roads also used at Rallye Monte-Carlo, including two passes over the famous Col de Turini. After initially leading, Bouffier finished second there in January’s WRC season-opener in a Fiesta RS.
“I’m grateful to be given the opportunity to drive the Hyundai i20 WRC at Rallye Antibes, an event I won back in 2006 and where I enjoy driving every time I go there,” said Bouffier. “The aim is to do some good mileage on Tarmac and give the team as much feedback as possible for the remainder of the season.”
The two-day event starts on Friday and the 12 stages cover 212km.