Wednesday | 09 Dec 2015

Hyundai opts for mix-and-match

Hyundai Motorsport will operate a rotation policy across its lead team in next season’s WRC with Thierry Neuville, Dani Sordo and Hayden Paddon sharing the two available slots.

All three will tackle all 14 rounds but the car-driver line-up in the main Hyundai Shell World Rally Team will differ from event to event to allow the squad to match the drivers to their specific strengths.

Team principal Michel Nandan said all three would be given the same chance to make their mark in the drivers’ championship.

“We have a strong pool of drivers with a range of experience and strengths. We will not constrain ourselves by fixing specific car line-ups at each rally, instead assembling the best composition for each event to maximise our championship chances.

“All three drivers will contest all rounds, including the rally in China that will be new for everyone. They will have equal opportunities in the drivers’ championship.

“We strongly believe this is the best approach for us in our third season and we know the drivers will deliver to the best of their abilities in each rally. I’m convinced we have the most versatile driver line-up in WRC and we want to use that to our advantage,” he said.

New Hyundai i20 WRC will debut at Rallye Monte-Carlo

Hyundai has chosen not to confirm a lead driver although it is expected to be Neuville, despite a disappointing 2015. The lead driver must tackle a minimum of 10 of the 14 rounds.

Neuville is convinced the new car (pictured in testing) will allow him to challenge for wins.

“The objective for us will be always the same, to be as close as possible to the top and hopefully be able to fight for some victories along the season. I have a lot of confidence in the new car, it’s all new compared to the current version and I’m positive we will be closer to our main rivals.

“It will be like a fresh start for me as 2015 was a difficult year for me where I had some bad luck and made some mistakes. I come out of it stronger and more motivated than ever and I’m really eager to start the season with our new generation i20 WRC,” he said.

Two new cars will be supplemented by a 2015 car at next month’s opening round at Rallye Monte-Carlo, with three identical 2016 cars for the remaining 13 events. The third driver at each round will score points for the second string Hyundai Mobis squad.

Kevin Abbring will contest selected rounds in a fourth car, as revealed by last month. However, the Dutchman’s focus will be developing the team’s R5 car and its 2017 WRC car.

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