Hyundai unveils new i20 for 2016 World Rally Championship

Hyundai has unveiled the New Generation i20 WRC that it will use for the 2016 World Rally Championship season

Hyundai unveils new i20 for 2016 World Rally Championship

The team retains Thierry Neuville, Hayden Paddon and Dani Sordo to field a three-car line-up on every event, with Kevin Abbring making occasional appearances alongside test duties.

The car will only be used for a single season before the WRC's rules revamp takes effect in 2017.

Hyundai has conducted around 5000 miles of testing with the new i20, having abandoned a previous plan to introduce it during the 2015 season, and is confident it will allow it to close the gap to the dominant Volkswagens.

Hyundai's New Generation i20 WRC

Team principal Michel Nandan said: "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.

"The competition remains strong and we know our manufacturer rivals will not ease in their pursuit for victory but we want to take the fight to them in 2016."

The team went into 2015 with Neuville and Sordo as its lead pairing, but ended up shuffling drivers between its main team and second-string line-up as first Paddon showed impressive pace that included leading in Sardinia and then Neuville's form declined.

Nandan said Hyundai would be flexible next year on who was fielded in its Shell-branded lead entries and who was placed with the Mobis-branded secondary squad on each rally.

"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," he said.

"They will have equal opportunities in the drivers' championship.

"I'm convinced we have the most versatile driver line-up in WRC and we want to use that to our advantage."

Abbring will focus on development of Hyundai's new R5 car for customers and on the 2017 WRC machine.

Just two of the new i20s will be available for the season-opening Monte Carlo Rally in January, before all three full-time drivers get them for round two in Sweden.

Hyundai scored its maiden WRC victory in Germany in 2014, where Neuville and Sordo took a one-two, but it was unable to repeat that achievement this season and lost out to Citroen in a battle for second in the manufacturers' championship.

WRC 2016 DRIVER LINE-UP

Volkswagen: Sebastien Ogier, Jari-Matti Latvala, Andreas Mikkelsen
Hyundai: Thierry Neuville, Dani Sordo, Hayden Paddon
M-Sport Ford: Mads Ostberg, Eric Camilli

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