New i20 WRC challenger unveiled by Hyundai

Hyundai has officially unveiled its 2016-spec World Rally Championship machine, the "New Generation" i20.

The new car was finally unveiled on Wednesday morning at the Korean manufacturer's base in Alzenau, Germany following a rigorous testing programme, and will debut in January's Monte Carlo Rally. 

It replaces Hyundai's previous version of the i20, which contested the WRC in 2014 and 2015 and took a single victory in last year's Rally Germany courtesy of Thierry Neuville.

"We are entering an exciting phase in our young team's journey, which I think will reinforce our commitment and ambition in the competitive WRC community," said team boss Michel Nandan.

"We have come a long way since our inaugural foundation year, and our performance in last season's championship gave us renewed optimism for the future.

"The New Generation i20 WRC is the product of a full year of development and with a more experienced team of staff, we should now raise our objectives to be more confident to fight at the front."

Three full-time entries

Hyundai has officially confirmed that Neuville, Dani Sordo and Hayden Paddon will all contest the full 14-round WRC schedule.

However, the exact composition of the two-car "main" team - the squad that represents Hyundai's chances in the constructors' championship - is to be decided on a rally-to-rally basis.

"We will not constrain ourselves by fixing specific car line-ups at each rally, instead assembling the best composition for each event to maximise our championship chances," Nandan added.

Neuville, whose relationship with the team was strained by a difficult 2015, said: "I have a lot of confidence in the new car, it’s all new compared to the current version and I’m positive we will be closer to our main rivals.

"It will be like a fresh start for me as 2015 was a difficult year for me where I had some bad luck and made some mistakes. I come out of it stronger and more motivated than ever."

Abbring gets selected outings

Hyundai also announced that test driver Kevin Abbring will get selected WRC outings in the i20, albeit the Dutchman's main focus will the development of the manufacturer's new WRC 2-spec R5 challenger.

"R5 development will mean more driving this year and I can use my recent experience to make a better car," said Abbring.

"I've learned a lot in the rallies so far but on the other hand it has been hard to show my potential when only contesting some of the rounds.

"I'm really pleased by the trust the team has in me, and I'm really looking forward to what's coming."

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About this article
Series WRC
Event 2016 Hyundai i20 WRC presentation
Drivers Dani Sordo , Hayden Paddon , Kevin Abbring , Thierry Neuville
Teams Hyundai Motorsport
Article type Breaking news