Our flying Dutchman will drive a fourth Hyundai i20 WRC alongside Thierry, Dani and Hayden in Portugal and Sardinia.
We will be expanding our line-up to four cars in three rounds of this years WRC with our test and development driver Kevin Abbring joining the action!
Kevin and co-driver Seb Marshall will drive the #10 car, the same 2015-spec Hyundai i20 WRC that teammate Hayden used at Monte-Carlo earlier this year. Their programme will include Portugal and Sardinia with one additional round still to be announced.
The duo made a big impression last season, taking part in five rounds of the Championship alongside their testing duties. Who could forget their sensational performance in Corsica when they ran as high as second place?
Building Experience and Momentum
I am very excited to have the first two of my three rallies this year in Portugal and in Sardinia! said Kevin.The two rallies are right after one another so I should benefit from the momentum going from one event to the next. Obviously, when you are not in the car a lot, you have to prepare everything twice as well.
We gained some really positive WRC experience last year, so my objective for Portugal will be to get into the rhythm soon as possible then achieve a top-ten classification.
We will be starting with the 2015 car, but that wont matter. I have rallied in Portugal and Sardinia twice each, four or five years ago. It has been a while so I am very excited to be back again. The gravel surface is less known to me but this makes it more exciting.
Looking to the Future
Kevin has spent the start of 2016 supporting the development of the New Generation i20 R5 Customer Project. He has also done valuable development for the New Generation i20 WRC, which we have driven to two podiums in the three opening rounds of the 2016 WRC.
One of my future targets is to do all rallies in the Championship but, for the moment, I have a huge job developing two cars – the New Generation i20 WRC and the R5.
Our Team Principal Michel Nandan also sees the benefits, We always thought that it is a good move to have a test driver who also does competitive kilometres. We agreed with Kevin that this year he would do three rallies in the latest 2015 edition WRC car as part of a four-car programme alongside our three regular crews. At the beginning of the year Kevin was very busy with R5 testing, which was the absolute priority, but now we are a bit further into the season we have more spare time to offer him some WRC events. He showed his potential in Corsica last year with an eye-catching performance, so we are looking forward to seeing what he can do this season.