Friday | 10 Apr 2015

Hyundai delays new car to 2016

The debut of Hyundai’s new-generation i20 World Rally Car has been delayed until the start of the 2016 FIA World Rally Championship season.

The Korean manufacturer hoped to introduce the updated version of its current challenger in the second half of this season. However, homologation issues mean the team will target next January’s Rallye Monte-Carlo for its debut.

Hyundai also revealed that the new car will be a five-door version rather than the expected three-door model. The problems are blamed on hold-ups with the production of the three-door road car.

Speculation about delays was heightened earlier this week when team principal Michel Nandan told the car’s development would not be rushed and the emphasis was on producing a competitive car for 2016.

“We had hoped to introduce the new car later this season but unfortunately an issue with the homologation schedule - related to production of the three-door road version - will delay our programme,” he explained.

New i20 WRC will be a five-door version

“We have therefore opted to continue focus on the five-door version of the New Generation i20 WRC which will compete at Rallye Monte-Carlo 2016. This revised schedule gives us extra time to ensure the car is where we want it to be performance-wise.

“At the same time, the current Hyundai i20 WRC will undergo a number of important updates which we hope will keep us in the fight for podiums this season,” added Nandan.

The delay will come as a blow to drivers Thierry Neuville and Dani Sordo. Hayden Paddon was scheduled to use the current car for the rest of the season with the second-string Hyundai Motorsport N team.

Neuville and test driver Kevin Abbring drove the new car on gravel in the Almeria region of southern Spain earlier this month with the emphasis on engine and chassis development and altitude work.

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