HYUNDAI i20 R5 BREAKS COVER
Hyundai’s all-new i20 R5 has broken cover, testing in the south of France for the first time last week.
Dutchman Kevin Abbring and Britain’s Seb Marshall crewed the car during the roll out at Fontjoncouse. The pair are in for a long year of testing – once they’ve completed the work on the R5 car, they will begin an intensive period of running in the team’s new-for-2017 World Rally Car.
The i20 R5 will not make its competitive debut until the second half of the year, with homologation not planned until mid-season.
Team principal Michel Nandan told Motorsport News late last year it was possible that the car could be seen on WRC2 rounds at the end of the season, but it wouldn’t be available for customer competition use until next year.
Customer division chief Andrea Adamo said: “Kevin carried out the initial test last week and we have really hit the ground running. The first tests with the New Generation i20 R5 will be focused on reliability so we can resolve any teething problems as we develop a car that customers can enjoy driving without any compromise to performance. We are on target to deliver the first R5s around the end of summer. We are entering an important phase now, ramping up our testing programme and recruiting more staff to join our experienced team.”
Adamo denied there would be any kind of factory Hyundai team entering the WRC2 division next season.
“The R5 is made for customers and although Hyundai Motorsport will not participate directly as a works team in any championship, we are focused on providing our clients with the best service and support,” added Adamo. “It’s an exciting period and we hope to see the car competing as early as the end of this year in regional and national championships in the main European markets – and to see it more widely in 2017.”