HYUNDAI Motorsport has parted ways with team principal Michel Nandan and appointed a new director to lead its FIA World Rally Championship program.
PHOTO: New Hyundai Motorsport director Andrea Adamo (Hyundai pic)
Hyundai announced overnight its customer racing manager Andrea Adamo would become team director immediately, just three weeks before the 2019 season starts at Rallye Monte-Carlo.
The Italian will retain his existing role as Customer Racing Manager, responsible for the i20 R5 rally and i30 N TCR programs.
Nandan managed Hyundai’s 2013 return to the WRC, netting 10 wins, including at Kennards Hire Rally Australia in 2016 and 2017, but finishing runner-up for the past three seasons in the coveted manufacturers’ championship.
In a showdown at Rally Australia last November, Hyundai and lead driver Thierry Neuville were in contention to win the 2018 manufacturers’ and drivers’ titles, but ultimately lost to Toyota Gazoo and Sebastien Ogier.
The team said: “Hyundai Motorsport extends its sincerest thanks to Michel for his significant contribution to the team’s growth and development over the past six years and wishes him all the best for the future.”
After Rally Australia, Hyundai confirmed the 2019 squad for its i20 Coupe WRCs would be full-time drivers Neuville and Andreas Mikkelsen, with nine-time champion Sebastien Loeb and Dani Sordo sharing a third car.
Offered just one event by Nandan, New Zealander Hayden Paddon chose to leave the team.
The 2019 WRC season will be launched officially at the Autosport International show in Birmingham on 12 January, with all crews, team bosses and cars expected to attend.
The 2019 Rally Australia will be staged again on the NSW Coffs Coast on 14-17 November.