Hyundai’s disastrous performance at Rallye Monte-Carlo prompted the Korean manufacturer to debut its second string squad with Dani Sordo at next month’s Rally de Portugal.
After announcing a third entry for Sordo last month, it was confirmed yesterday he will be entered by Hyundai Motorsport N, the newly-formed team for whom Hayden Paddon will drive during the second half of the season. Thierry Neuville and Juho Hanninen will drive for the main Hyundai Motorsport squad.
Team manager Alain Penasse said the retirement of both Neuville and Sordo on the opening day of Rallye Monte-Carlo forced the team to rush through a third i20 WRC for Portugal to enhance the development of the new car.
“The first two rallies, we did not do so many kilometres,” said Penasse. “Monte-Carlo was nearly a zero operation so from this rally we didn’t gather a lot of feedback and that’s why in Portugal we decided to put a third car.
“We had to rush a bit because it was not obvious to put the car ready, but if we had waited until after Portugal then for sure it would be Sardinia. That’s already June, so that’s why we pushed to have a third car and to have Dani driving it,” he added.
Penasse did not rule out the possibility of a fourth car joining Paddon in the Hyundai Motorsport N squad in the second half of the year.
“For the moment we are stuck to a three car team. Maybe in the future but today we are too busy to look at that,” he said.