Saturday | 04 Apr 2015

Hyundai to debut paddle-shift in Argentina

Hyundai will give its i20 World Rally Car the second technical upgrade in as many rallies at the next round in Argentina, with the debut of a new paddle-shift gear change.

Permitted under 2015 WRC regulations, Hyundai’s system is hydraulically operated and brings the i20 into line with the latest Fiesta, Polo and DS 3 cars. It will be fitted to the cars of Thierry Neuville and Dani Sordo, while Hayden Paddon’s Motorsport N car will continue with the earlier manual shift.

The upgrade comes seven weeks after a revised fuel injection system was introduced at Rally Guanajuato Mexico. The team had planned to debut the paddle-shift at the same time, but the date was pushed back for technical reasons.

“We found an issue with the software, and because we are allowed only one software homologation per year we didn’t want to do any mistakes,” Hyundai team principal Michel Nandan told “We postponed the introduction in order to sort out the issue and test it thoroughly.”

Nandan admitted the paddle-shift would not bring a “drastic” improvement in performance, but felt his drivers would benefit - not least from being able to drive with both hands on the steering wheel.

“Over the length of a rally it improves performance because the way the gears are changing is always optimised. And for the driver I think it is a bit more comfortable - and that in the end will bring an improvement,” he said.

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