Motor Sport News - - Rally News - Pho­tos: fi­, mck­lein-im­age­

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.”

New i20 R5 was tested in France Ab­bring and Mar­shall

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