July 8, 2013 - Hyundai Motorsport has today announced Finnish driver Juho Hänninenas one of the team’s test drivers for 2013, ending weeks of speculation over the mystery man behind the wheel of the Hyundai i20 WRC in May.
Hyundai Motorsport has been building up its new operation from scratch since the start of the year, establishing the team at a dedicated facility in Alzenau, Germany and recruiting specialists at every level of its organisation.
Test drivers are an integral part of the team’s development programme, requiring the necessary skills and experience to develop a competitive andreliable rally car in a short space of time.
Six months ahead of the debut at Rallye Monte-Carlo in January 2014, Hyundai Motorsport is in the process of carrying out an intensive test programme to evaluate and develop the i20 WRC on all terrains and conditions.
Hänninen won the Intercontinental Rally Challenge in 2010followed by the FIA Super 2000 World Rally Championship and the FIA European Rally Championship titles in 2011 and 2012 respectively. He will be a valuable asset for the team to prepare the assault to the 2014 FIA World Rally Championship.
Hyundai Motorsport will soon be in a position to announce a second test driver for the remainder of the 2013 test phase. 2014 drivers will be announcedat the end of the year.
Hyundai Motorsport Team Principal Michel Nandan commented: “We’re very pleased to welcome Juho on board for our 2013 test programme. I’m sure his experience and background will contribute to the project and I’m happy with the job he’s done so far.
We have decided to work with different drivers with unique skills and capabilities this year, which will provide us with valuable feedback for 2014.
Hänninen said: “I’m delighted to be part of the Hyundai Motorsport testing programme for this year. It’s a fantastic opportunity to work closely to a manufacturer and to give my contribution to this great challenge.
The first run with the i20 WRC was quite positive for me; I’m very impressed with the work the team has done so far in such an incredibly short space of time. I feel comfortable with everyone in the team and I look forward to carry on working with them in the next six months.”
About Hyundai Motor
Established in 1967, Hyundai Motor Co. has grown into the Hyundai Motor Group, with more than two dozen auto-related subsidiaries and affiliates. Hyundai Motor - which has seven manufacturing bases outside of South Korea including Brazil, China, the Czech Republic, India, Russia, Turkey and the U.S. - sold 4.4 million vehicles globally in 2012. Hyundai Motor, which employs over 90,000 worldwide, offers a full line-up of products including small to large passenger vehicles, SUVs and commercial vehicles.
About Hyundai Motorsport GmbH
Established on 19 December 2012, Hyundai Motorsport GmbH is responsible for Hyundai’s global motorsport activities and primarily for its recently announced World Rally Championship programme. Based in Alzenau on the outskirts of Frankfurt in Germany, the company is in the process of establishing Hyundai’s return to WRC with a bespoke team of skilled staff developing a WRC-specification i20.
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