The Hyundai Motorsport World Rally Championship (WRC) squad have unveiled their challenger for the 2016 World Rally Championship overnight in Germany.
The car sports numerous changes, the most notable of which is a switch to a four-door platform from the two-door bodyshell used on the outgoing Hyundai i20.
With drivers Thierry Neuville, Dani Sordo, Kiwi Hayden Paddon, and Dutch test driver Kevin Abbring, the Hyundai squad are looking to build upon their 2015 season — which saw the team finish third in the manufacturer points.
"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," said team principal Michael Nandan.
"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. [...] We have worked with Dani, Hayden, and Thierry for two seasons now, so it is a real benefit to continue with them all into 2016 with the New Generation i20 WRC.
"They have all experienced the new car and given positive reviews, so I'm looking forward to seeing them on the stages this season."
Photo / Hyundai Motorsport
Hayden Paddon was among those present at the launch, with the former New Zealand Rally Championship victor hunting for wins in 2016.
“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. 2016 is another step towards our ultimate goal and part of that process is winning our first rally," said Paddon.
"In the tests we have carried out, the [new i20] 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 series kicks back into gear next month with the treacherous Rallye Monte-Carlo, where Paddon will face off against the forces of Volkswagen, Citroen, and Ford.