Hyundai to switch its i20 World Rally Championship model for 2017

Hyundai's 2017 World Rally Car will be based on the three-door i20 it wanted to use this season

Hyundai to switch its i20 World Rally Championship model for 2017

The Korean firm's current car was planned to come off the three-door platform, until it was discovered the factory couldn't produce enough cars to satisfy homologation requirements - hence this season's five-door i20 WRC.

Hyundai team principal Michel Nandan said: "At the time, the three-door car didn't comply, but now it should be different.

"We will carry a lot of parts over from the current car to the new car, but the regulations are quite different for 2017.

"There is still some work to do: we have new suspension pick-up points and things like that."

Hyundai has tested a three-door i20 WRC this month, but that is believed to be based on an early mule car from 2016.

Nandan said the 2017 car wouldn't be seen until later in the season.

"We won't run the complete car until quite late, but we have dedicated one 2016 car to run some 2017 parts," he said.

"This started in April, when we were testing coolers, intercoolers, bigger restrictors, things like that.

"Now we are working with the transmission - we have to do this rather than waiting for the new shell."

DRIVER LINE-UP SET TO REMAIN

Nandan is keen to retain Hyundai's drivers for 2017. Hayden Paddon is already under contract, but Thierry Neuville, Dani Sordo and test driver Kevin Abbring have yet to commit.

He added: "Our line-up is not too bad, this has been proven some times.

"We still have to discuss a little bit, but we are quite confident to keep our drivers. They are fast and the combination is good."

Nandan admitted the chances of running four cars - as it did on the last two rounds of the world championship - next season were slim.

"The difference between two and three cars is not so big; four cars is the biggest difference because of the spare parts you need as well," he said.

"When we started in 2014 we put three cars on some events, then last year, when you have a car which has been running for one year, you have a pool of parts and you can run three cars.

"But to put four cars, really it's a big amount for next season."

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