Loeb's fond farewell
WRC icon leaves French manufacturer
The introduction of the new-generation i20 for 2016 allied with the WRC increasing to 14 rounds has complicated Hyundai’s planning, and team manager Alain Penasse said he could not be specific about which rallies the Dutchman would start.
“Kevin will still be the test driver and we’ve made an agreement with him to do some rallies next year. But the new calendar means we have to reorganise everything, so we have to look at all the possibilities and recalculate what is possible.
“A completely new car for next year means it will be very, very difficult for Kevin to drive a WRC in the first part of the year. Later in the season is also not possible because we now have so many rallies.
“We can’t use the same chassis for all rallies, so we swap the chassis around which lowers the possibility to have Kevin driving at these rallies. We maybe get him driving in the summertime a bit more,” said Penasse.
Hyundai will introduce its first R5 car next year and while Penasse wants to showcase it in WRC, he ruled out a WRC 2 entry.
“We want to show that the car will be competitive so I think Kevin is the right driver to show that. He will do some rallies but not a full WRC 2 programme, just certain rallies.
“The calendar again makes it difficult. Because we have three WRC cars to build for each rally, maybe we’ll have to choose a European championship for R5 because we don’t have the capacity to do it in WRC,” he added.
Hyundai will unveil its new i20 WRC, which was delayed from this year, at its Alzenau base in Germany on 9 December.