Hyundai Motorsport will debut its new-gen i20 WRC racer for the first time at the 2016 Rallye Monte-Carlo, set to take place next week from January 22-25.
For the first time at a Monte-Carlo rally event, Hyundai will field three cars as the team looks to build on their successful 2015 campaign where they managed to secure second place in the Manufacturers’ Championship. The two new-generation i20 WRCs, are set to be driven by Belgian pairing Thierry Neuville/Nicolas Gilsoul and Spanish duo Dani Sordo/Marc Marti, under the Hyundai Shell World Rally Team name.
The third car (2015-spec) will be driven by Hayden Paddon/John Kennard, racing for Hyundai Mobis World Rally Team. The duo will then take the wheel of a third new-gen i20 WRC car at Rally Sweden and beyond.
So far, the new i20 WRC has accumulated over 8,000 km (4,970 miles) of testing during its development, though that’s not going to change the fact that the car will be challenged in lots of different ways by the unforgiving stages of the Rallye Monte-Carlo – the WRC’s oldest event, first run over 100 years ago in 1911.
Last year, Hyundai Motorsport did manage a top-six result on this exact stage, though with this new generation i20 WRC, expectations are naturally higher. The car is powered by a 300 HP turbocharged 1.6-liter petrol engine, with everything going to all four wheels through a six-speed sequential transmission.
Once the i20 WRC’s wheels touch the road, it will need to out-perform rival models such as the rally-spec Ford Fiesta RS and Skoda Fabia R5.