(Hyundai Motorsport pic)
HYUNDAI appears set to run four cars at selected WRC rounds this season after it announced the signing of young Dutch driver Kevin Abbring today.
Abbring, who turns 26 next week, will be Hyundai Motorsport’s official test driver, concentrating on development of the new-generation i20 car expected to appear later in the season.
The team also said he would compete in selected WRC rounds. With Thierry Neuville, Dani Sordo and Hayden Paddon already announced for full-season roles (although Paddon will skip round one in Monte-Carlo next week), this means Abbring would have to drive a fourth car.
Abbring impressed engineers when he did some driving duties for the team last year. He replaces former test drivers and part-time competitors Juho Hanninen, Bryan Bouffier and Australian Chris Atkinson.
A former Junior WRC competitor, Abbring drove for Peugeot in the FIA European Rally Championship last season. His co-driver will be Brit Sebastien Marshall, who formerly drove with Australia’s Molly Taylor.
The addition on a fourth driver demonstrates the Korean company’s determination to progress in 2015, following an impressive WRC debut in 2014 that included a 1-2 result in Rally Germany.
As well as announcing its new driver, Hyundai Motorsport also revealed its cars’ 2015 livery, which features new partners Hyundai Mobis, Hyundai WIA and Hyundai Steel.