(11/12/2013) HYUNDAI has revealed a four-driver line-up for 2014, including Australia’s Chris Atkinson, as it prepares to make its high-profile return to the FIA World Rally Championship next month.
At a presentation overnight in Frankfurt, Germany, it was confirmed that Atkinson and Dani Sordo will join Juho Hanninen and the team’s lead driver Thierry Neuville in the new Hyundai 120 WRC car next season.
Hyundai said Sordo and Atkinson, like Hanninen, will partner Neuville at “several events during the season”, with Atkinson and long-standing co-driver Stephane Prevot already confirmed for Rally Australia on 11-14 September.
Atkinson’s return to Rally Australia for the first time since 2006, when he drove for the Subaru World Rally Team, will be a major attraction for spectator at the Coffs Coast event.
After one-off entries in the WRC in recent seasons aboard Fords, Citroens and Minis and winning the 2012 FIA Asia Pacific Rally Championship in a Skoda, Atkinson signed on as a Hyundai development driver this season with hopes of being selected to compete.
“It’s been a pleasure to be part of Hyundai Motorsport in testing this season and to have had the chance to contribute to the development of the i20 WRC,” he said.
“It’s fantastic to be able to carry on with the team into 2014, our first WRC season, and to be able to drive in Rally Australia later in the year.”
Sordo, who took his maiden WRC victory in Germany this year with Citroen, has renewed his partnership with former co-driver Marc Marti and will pilot the team’s second i20 World Rally Car at the season-opening Rallye Monte-Carlo next month.
Last month Hyundai confirmed that Hanninen would be at the wheel at Rally Sweden, as part of the rotating roster of drivers in the second 120WRC alongside full-time driver Neuville.
Sordo said he was happy to be part of Hyundai’s WRC project.
“It might be a young team but there is a high level of experience and professionalism that makes the team a really appealing package,” he said.
“I am looking forward to bringing my years of WRC experience to the team in its debut season and to take part in Rallye Monte-Carlo, the first event.”