Paddon learns aplenty ahead of debut
Hayden Paddon finds a steep learning curve ahead of his Hyundai debut
The two-day French Rally Championship event was used as a test ahead of a trio of asphalt rallies that are approaching on the WRC calendar.
The Hyundai team paid particular attention to the performance of the car’s brakes, transmission and engine mapping, as well as testing vital components during the rally.
The team also used Michelin WRC tyre compounds and Carless WRC fuel in a bid to recreate an authentic FIA World Rally Championship environment.
Bouffier, Hyundai’s development driver, won the rally by 22s from Julien Maurin in a Ford Fiesta WRC.
Bouffier was on familiar territory as the route for the Rallye Antibes – Côte d’Azur is run in the Alpes-Maritime region and uses some of the iconic stages that are also found on Rallye Monte-Carlo – an event where the Frenchman finished second in January.
“We did a good job this weekend and focused on Hyundai Motorsports’ key objective for coming to the event, giving the team a lot of feedback and information to develop the Hyundai i20 WRC on tarmac,” Bouffier said. “Rallye Antibes was the perfect event for us to test as it’s a mix of fast and flowing and more technical roads.”
Hyundai Motorsport team principal Michel Nandan was pleased with the i20 WRC’s rally-winning performance. He said: “We did some good mileage with the Hyundai i20 WRC and accumulated some valuable experience for the test team by working in rally conditions.
“It’s nice to win our first event, even if it wasn’t our priority. It’s a good reward for the team’s hard work.”
The first asphalt rally of the 2014 season is ADAC Rallye Deutschland (21-24 August).