Hyundai Motorsport boss Michel Nandan is eager to get the WRC season started at Rallye Monte-Carlo [25-28 January] and believes his team could not be better prepared for a title push in 2018.
Hyundai has outlined clear ambitions to compete for both drivers’ and manufacturers’ championship titles this year, after finishing runner-up in both contests in 2017.
And Nandan has his sights set on a maiden Monte-Carlo victory to get the new season off to a flying start.
“We are as well prepared for this new season as we can be with renewed ambitions for the championship," Nandan said.
"We know our rivals will be formidable and relentless, so we have to be on top of our game at all times. Bring on round one – let’s hope it’s another classic Monte.”
Hyundai will field a three-car squad at the Monte, with i20 Coupe WRCs for Andreas Mikkelsen, Dani Sordo and Thierry Neuville.
The 2018-specification i20 has undertaken a thorough development programme over the winter. Three days of testing were held north of Nice, France in mid-December, followed by a three days closer to Gap in the New Year. The team then travelled to Spain for a day of evaluation in a range of conditions.
"The performance of our car in the final rounds of last season, especially winning in Australia, gave us a good springboard for winter development," Nandan explained.
"We have taken the car and crews to France and Spain for seven days of testing in the past month, in an effort to replicate conditions that we expect in Monte.
"The beauty of this opening event is its unpredictability, so we have to be prepared for anything."