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Hyundai made its return to WRC competition in 2014 with an all-new team and ambitious long-term plans for success in rallying’s top class.
The Korean firm wasn’t new to the WRC. It competed in the F2 category between 1998 and 2000, before switching to a World Rally Car version of its Accent saloon until 2003.
Hyundai’s return was heralded by the unveiling of a prototype i20 World Rally Car at the Paris Motor Show in September 2012. Things moved quickly, with the establishment three months later of a new motorsport base in Germany.
Former Peugeot WRC technical head Michel Nandan was brought in to oversee the task of creating a fully operational team, a rally-specification i20 and developing a brand new motorsport facility - all from scratch and in 12 months.
At the wheel throughout 2014 was 2013 title runner-up, Thierry Neuville, with a second car shared by Dani Sordo, Bryan Bouffier, Juho Hanninen and Chris Atkinson. Hyundai was clear from the off that 2014 would be a development year, but it showed plenty of promise, including a surprise 1-2 result in Germany.
Team-leader Neuville will be joined by Sordo on all rallies in 2015 as the squad switches to a consistent driver line-up.