Thierry Neuville says Hyundai is well-placed regarding the new-for-2017 World Rally Championship regulations, with more room to grow in its development than other manufacturers.
With the Korean carmaker set to be joined by factory outfits from Toyota and Citroen next season, as Volkswagen drops out of the WRC, star driver Neuville reckons its Hyundai that can potentially make the biggest splash when the new technical regulations come into play.
The Belgian also says that its that potential that was the driving force to him agreeing to a new two-year deal with Hyundai, despite having been on Citroen's wishlist before the French manufacturer signed Craig Breen and Stephane Lefebvre to team up with Kris Meeke.
"I have been very clear on that Citroen made its own choice to continue with a young driver programme," Neuville told Motorsport.com. "For me, I was considering at that time to stay with Hyundai because we want to continue on the work we have achieved over the last three years.
"We have shown great progress every year, and a lot of progress this year. That made me stay, because it tells me that for next year we're going to make another step forward.
"We are definitely the team that can make the biggest progress next year with the new regulations, as the others have already quite competitive cars, close to the maximum of the regulations.
"We still have some margin, and for next year we'll take another step forward. We hope to approach it [in that way] even more and be even more competitive."
Pre-2017 testing time no concern
While Neuville admits he hasn't spent as much time as he'd like behind the wheel of Hyundai's three-door new-gen car, he reckons he'll have no issues getting up to speed before the season-opener in Monte Carlo.
"I've had three test days so far, and I'll have another three or four days before Monte Carlo," he said.
"I'm confident with that. Obviously the base of the car is similar to what we've run this year. The cars are a bit wider and faster, so a few changes, but I'm not worried about that.
"I'm already feeling good and comfortable in the car."
Neuville and co-driver Nicolas Gilsoul are set to run the older-spec car for the final time at this weekend's Rally Australia at Coffs Harbour.