Hyundai WRC driver Andreas Mikkelsen says the i20 reminds him of Volkswagen’s all-conquering Polo.
Sebastien Ogier dominated the WRC with VW from 2013 until its shock exit at the end of the 2016 season, which left Ogier and his VW teammates Jari-Matti Latvala and Mikkelsen without a seat.
Ogier and Latvala found seats but Mikkelsen was forced to begin the 2017 season in Skoda’s R5 outfit.
He joined Citroen for three events later in the year with a second place in Finland the highlight, before switching to Hyundai for the final three rallies of the year and finding it “pretty much” like the VW.
“Especially coming back to gravel was very much feeling like going back to the Polo,” he said of the i20 on stage at Autosport International during the 2018 WRC launch.
“The [Citroen] C3 was a bit more difficult to drive, I found, on gravel; on asphalt it was really nice.
“I feel now we’re in the best place possible to fight for the championship. I feel a lot more comfortable in the car, so I do believe that we have major possibilities for the year and we can fight for the top.”
Mikkelsen’s first full-time campaign with Hyundai will begin in Monte Carlo, he won WRC2’s Monte round by over three minutes last year with Skoda.
“We’re pretty much in control, we haven’t had too many tricky conditions yet, no ice or snow, we’re still looking for that at the moment,” Mikkelsen added.
“I’m sure by the start of Monte, we will be ready for the 2018 season.”
Hyundai boss Michel Nandan revealed the team will run four cars in May’s Rally Portugal, with both Dani Sordo and Hayden Paddon driving alongside regulars Thierry Neuville and Mikkelsen.
This is to ensure that Sordo and Paddon will contest the same number of rounds in 2018, as they will alternate driving the third i20 on the remaining 12 events of the year.
Sordo will join Neuville and Mikkelsen for this month's Monte Carlo opener.