Hyundai Motorsport has unveiled a formidable driver line-up for Rallye Deutschland (21-24 August) with two asphalt specialists joining lead driver Thierry Neuville in i20 WRCs.
Drafted into the team are Spain’s Dani Sordo and Frenchman Bryan Bouffier. Sordo has great pedigree on Rallye Deutchland’s tricky roads having won the event last season in a Citroen, while Bouffier gave Hyundai its first outright rally win at the asphalt-based Rallye Antibes – Côte d’Azur in June.
Making way for Bouffier in the third i20 WRC is Hayden Paddon. The New Zealander was always going to contest two out of the three true asphalt events this season, but with Rallye Deutschland effectively being Hyundai’s home rally – the team is based in the German town of Alzenau – Bouffier’s specialist asphalt skills have given him the nod.
Team principal, Michel Nandan, said: “Bryan knows a lot about the Hyundai i20 WRC and about our team, so he will be a very welcome addition to our driver line-up for Germany along with Thierry and Dani.
“This event will give us a useful opportunity to assess the performance potential of the Hyundai i20 WRC on asphalt and we feel we have the ideal driver line-up to do that in Germany.”
Bouffier, who impressed when he briefly led Rallye Monte-Carlo at the beginning of the season in an M-Sport-prepared Ford Fiesta, said: “Having tested the Hyundai i20 WRC since last year, I am excited to make my WRC debut with the team in Germany. The team has made impressive progress in the last year and I have been honoured to be part of that journey.”
Paddon is now expected to make his asphalt debut in the i20 WRC at Rallye de France-Alsace (3-5 October) and will also contest RallyRACC Rally de Espana later the same month.