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WRC Rally Italy

Hyundai looking at several drivers to create WRC talent pool

Hyundai boss Cyril Abiteboul says the team is assessing several drivers as it looks to create a pool of young World Rally Championship talent to utilise for the future.

Dani Sordo, Candido Carrera, Hyundai World Rally Team Hyundai i20 N Rally1

The team is currently searching for at least one driver to join its WRC ranks to share the third i20 N with Dani Sordo following the tragic loss of Craig Breen in a Rally Croatia testing accident in April.

Hyundai WRC2 driver Teemu Suninen and WRC2 champion Emil Lindholm have been linked to the drive, with the former testing an i20 N at the team’s Finland test base prior to last weekend’s visit to Sardinia.

When asked for an update on the team’s driver situation for the third car, Abiteboul confirmed that the team is currently assessing several drivers, admitting that the squad needs to sign more than one driver for its future plans.

The former Renault Formula 1 boss also indicated that now its has signed a new technical director in Francois-Xavier Demaison, the team’s next priority is to develop drivers with an announcement linked to these plans expected later this month.

"One thing that I can confirm is we have tested Teemu last week and he is already part of the family, so it is a natural thing to do and was always going to be the plan," Abiteboul told Autosport.

“There is more to announce when it comes to drivers. My first priority was the technical director and the next priority once we have plan about how we develop the car, will be how do we develop drivers and we will be announcing something in relation to that in June.

WRC2 Podium: Winner Yohan Rossel, Arnaud Dunand, PH Sport Citroen C3 Rally2, second place Nikolay Gryazin, Konstantin Aleksandrov, Toksport WRT 2 Skoda Fabia Evo Rally2, third place Emil Lindholm, Reeta Hämäläinen, Toksport WRT Skoda Fabia Evo Rally2

WRC2 Podium: Winner Yohan Rossel, Arnaud Dunand, PH Sport Citroen C3 Rally2, second place Nikolay Gryazin, Konstantin Aleksandrov, Toksport WRT 2 Skoda Fabia Evo Rally2, third place Emil Lindholm, Reeta Hämäläinen, Toksport WRT Skoda Fabia Evo Rally2

Photo by: Red Bull Content Pool

“We are looking at a few [drivers] but we need more than one anyway because if you look at what has happened to our team this year and what is also going to happen to our team, and if you look at the next 18-month cycle, we need to have number of drivers to tap into.

“I don’t want to say too much at this time. My mission is not to look at a gap filling exercise, I’m looking at this as a more strategic platform to make sure that Hyundai always has multiple choices and options among some of the best young drivers out there.”

When quizzed if the team could sign more than one driver for the remainder of the year, Abiteboul replied: “Who knows”.

Regarding the vacancy in the team’s third I20 N WRC car, Suninen added: "I don’t really know and I think we have to wait and see what will happen.”

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Meanwhile, Lindholm is understood to be involved in discussions regarding the drive.

“Emil could have something exciting going on. To be honest I don’t know what the situation is now but yes there is some discussions going on," said two-time world rally champion Marcus Gronholm, whose GRX company manages Lindholm.

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