Hyundai has taken the wraps off its all new i20 challenger to contest the 2016 World Rally Championship.
The new i20, featuring an updated livery, will be driven by New Zealander Hayden Paddon, Spain’s Dani Sordo and Belgian ace Thierry Neuville in an unchanged line up.
The squad also confirmed Kevin Abbring will receive selected outings alongside his testing duties.
Hyundai’s latest WRC challenger, which replaces the previous i20 used in 2014 and 2015, has undergone an intense testing program which has seen the car complete 5,000km this year.
The i20 will be campaigned for only one season as WRC welcomes new regulations for 2017.
“We are entering an exciting phase in our journey, which I think will reinforce our commitment and ambition in the competitive WRC community,” said team principal Michel Nandan.
“We have come a long way since our inaugural year, and our performance in last season’s Championship gave us renewed optimism for the future.
“The New Generation i20 WRC is the product of a full year of development and, with a more experienced team, we 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.”
Paddon is excited by the prospect of new machinery for next season with the Kiwi confident the car can close the gap to the front runners.
“With the combination of the new car and another year of experience, I am confident we can fight at the front – especially in the gravel events,” said Paddon.
“2016 is another step towards our ultimate goal and part of that process is winning our first rally. I’m excited about the New Generation i20 WRC.
“In the tests we have carried out, the car has been a big step up in all areas from the previous car. It really suits my driving style better.
“While testing has been very positive, we never really know how we will stack up against the competition until we are on the stages – so in that regard we are all anxious to get the season started.”
The new i20 will make its competitive debut at the Monte Carlo Rally season opener from January 22-24.
VIDEO: Hyundai 2016 WRC Team Launch