It’s been only a few weeks since we were in action at the thrilling Rally Germany, taking our first double podium of the WRC season. But it’s not just on our WRC activities where we’ve been working hard. We have seen progress right across our company in recent months as we prepare for an intense and important period.
Looking ahead to 2017…
We will begin testing the final specification of its 2017 WRC challenger this week after five months of development. Work began on the new car back in April, using a mule for initial tests. Since June, a second evolution of the car was put through its paces in private testing. Our test driver Kevin has carried out most of the driving duties to date, although both Hayden and Dani got their first taste of the new car after Germany.
…but still pushing in 2016
Our trio of driver crews have all been in testing action since Rallye Deutschland. A pre-event test in Catalunya was held in the final week of August in preparation for Rally Spain, while the drivers will head to Corsica next week to prepare for the tenth round of the season, Tour de Corse – Rallye de France.
A Surprise Break
With no Rally China to contest, our crews have found themselves with a longer-than-expected break before Corsica. Dani, Hayden and Thierry have used the opportunity to spend time with their respective friends and family. Dani has been relaxing at home after his well-earned German podium, but is looking forward to getting back in the cockpit of the New Generation i20 WRC in testing. Thierry has carried out a number of activities for his sponsors, including a visit to the Belgian Formula One race at Spa-Francorchamps at the end of August. Hayden, meanwhile, has made the long trip over to New Zealand, where he has been catching up with his home comforts before jetting back to Europe for testing and the next round of the Championship.
From China to Australia
The cancellation of Rally China has required a change in our logistics arrangements. The six 12-metre containers, which are shipped at the start of the year to cover the overseas events, are now sent directly to Australia for the final round of the season. A total of approximately 50 tonnes of material is sent by freight, including recce cars, spare parts, tools and the service area and hospitality equipment. Our three New Generation i20 WRC cars will be sent by air from Europe together with 4,500kg of parts shortly before the last rally.
With Corsica, Spain and GB rounds of the WRC separated by a week each, and with Australia shortly after, it will be the busiest period for our team members. The mechanics will face the unenviable task of rebuilding the New Generation i20 WRCs in only four days between each event.
R5 set for Corsica WRC2 debut
Tour de Corse will also represent an important milestone for the Customer Racing department. The New Generation i20 R5 will make its WRC2 debut with three cars entered into the rally, subject to a timely completion of the homologation process. Kevin and Seb will be at the wheel of the car they helped to develop while Stéphane Sarrazin/Jacques-Julien Renucci and Fabio Andolfi/Manuel Fenoli will drive the first cars delivered to customer teams.
A Word from Michel
“The summer months have offered little respite for our team as we enter an exciting, but busy period for all of us in Alzenau,” summarised our Team Principal Michel Nandan. “We are pushing hard to continue our most successful WRC season, as we seek to score more podiums in the final four rounds. Our crews have a busy testing period to prepare for Corsica and Spain. We have also been preparing for next season with ongoing development of our 2017 car. The next test will be with the final specification so it will be an important part of our preparatory phase. Finally, we celebrate an important milestone in our Customer Racing activities, as three cars are entered in Corsica, one by Hyundai Motorsport and two by customer teams. It will be the moment where we truly see the fruits of everyone’s hard work, These are proud moments for everyone involved with Hyundai Motorsport.”