At the beginning of December Hyundai unveiled its 2017 World Rally Championship contender – the new i20 coupe WRC. The big reveal took place at the Monza Rally in Italy. The new i20 coupe has been designed in line with the new World Rally Championship regulations which will allow for more powerful, lighter and aerodynamic vehicles to take the track for the hotly contested title of WRC champion.
In the words of Hyundai’s Team Principal, Michael Nandon, “The new regulations for 2017 mean wider, more powerful cars, and we’re sure next season will be an entertaining one.”
One of the key players in the World Rally Championships, Hyundai recently announced that they have renewed their contract with Belgian driver Thierry Neuville. The 28 year old superstar has been representing the Korean car company since the 2014 season. One of the original drivers for Hyundai Motorsport, the beginning of his career with Hyundai was most definitely colourful. He made a huge splash, first for using Corona beer in the Mexican Rally to fuel his radiator, then several months later he went on to win the German Rally three days after rolling, and nearly righting off his vehicle.
Some people said it would never happen again, but Hyundai Motorsport has proven all of the naysayers wrong and has once again taken first place in a FIA World Rally Championship (WRC) Race, this time in Argentina (the first time was in 2014 during the ADAC Rallye Deutschland).
The World Rally Championship will be in its 43rd season this year. Drivers and teams battle head to head (or rather … bonnet to bonnet) in 13 rallies in four continents to reign supreme as Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile (FIA) World Rally Champions. If you’re not an avid rally fanatic, let me give you a breakdown on what the event is all about:
- Highest class of international rallying – some say it’s the toughest racing competition in the world
- An event to test the engineering prowess of the globes leading motor manufacturers by converting 1.6-litre four-cylinder production vehicles into WRC beasts
- And more awesomeness … because it’s worth mentioning twice
The defending champions are Volkswagen Motorsport with Sébastien Ogier at the wheel but with the release of the Hyundai team’s latest test video, we can see (and hear) that Hyundai is pushing the new i20 hard to maximise its performance and guarentee another win.
Although there are some differences between the commercial i20 and the WRC version, the new i20 is pretty exciting to drive so why not book a test drive and feel the rally spirit even when you can’t drive at rally speeds.
WARNING: DO NOT TRY THIS AT HOME!
With the Mexican stage of the 2014 WRC wrapped by, lead Hyundai driver Thierry Neuville took a new moments away from behind the wheel and cracked open a cold beer. While this might be expected in the blistering Mexican heat, instead of drinking it, he poured it into his engine…
Hyundai’s WRC i20 has put it foot on the podium with a 3rd! Considering that this is Hyundai’s first rally in more than a decade and only its third rally event, this is a great improvement and Hyundai is definitely improving race on race this year!