HYUNDAI Motorsport has dropped Andreas Mikkelsen from its line-up for next month’s Corsica Linea – Tour de Corse on 28-31 March.
The Korean squad will replace the 2016 Rally Australia winner with tarmac specialist Dani Sordo, who will tackle the Mediterranean island asphalt classic alongside Sébastien Loeb and lead driver Thierry Neuville in i20 World Rally Cars.
Despite a disappointing 2018 campaign, Mikkelsen had been expected to contest all 14 rounds of the 2019 season alongside Neuville, with Sordo and Loeb sharing the third i20.
However, Hyundai announced today that it had changed its plans and would call on asphalt specialists Sordo and Loeb to strengthen its Corsica chances.
“The decision to adjust driver line-up is intended to help the team fight consistently at each round with multiple opportunities to score podium results,” Hyundai said.
The German-based team is under intense pressure from Hyundai’s Korean headquarters to deliver the manufacturers’ title this season after fading in the second half of 2017 and 2018 when leading the standings.
The team replaced team boss Michel Nandan with Andrea Adamo for 2019, a move understood to be influenced in part by driver pressure.
The decision to axe Mikkelsen for Corsica also places a question mark over his position for the other asphalt encounter at ADAC Rallye Deutschland (22-24 August) and the mixed surface Rally RACC Catalunya – Rally de España (24-27 October), which contains two days of sealed-surface roads.
Hyundai Shell Mobis lies second in the manufacturers’ standings after last weekend’s Rally Sweden, a point behind Toyota Gazoo Racing.
Mikkelsen will remain behind the wheel for the WRC’s third round in Mexico next month.