Chris Atkinson will make his competition debut for Hyundai Motorsport at Rally Mexico in March when the i20 WRC competes on gravel for the first time.
Atkinson was one of three drivers involved in the development of Hyundai’s all-new WRC contender in the run-up to its debut at Rallye Monte-Carlo last month, and his experience in Mexico made him a logical choice to join lead driver Thierry Neuville.
The 34-year-old Australian, who will share the second i20 with Dani Sordo and Juho Hanninen this season, finished second in Mexico in 2008 in a Subaru Impreza, his best WRC result. He will be partnered by Stéphane Prévot.
“To have the opportunity to contest Rally Mexico with the team is fantastic. I have had several good results in Mexico so I have some great memories of this event and the Mexican fans,” said Atkinson.
“It will be the competitive debut of the Hyundai i20 WRC on gravel so it will be interesting to see how we can perform. I know how hard everyone has been working to prepare for this season so I hope we can repay them with a good result,” he added.
Hyundai team principal Michel Nandan said Atkinson’s speed in Mexico last year, when he finished sixth in a Citroen DS3, and his experience of the rally was a key factor in the decision.
“After Rallye Monte-Carlo we had to start making decisions on Rally Mexico and we thought Chris would be the ideal choice for our first rally on loose surface,” he said.
“We were impressed with Chris’ pace in Mexico last year and having feedback from a different driver will definitely help us significantly to further develop the Hyundai i20 WRC,” added Nandan.