PHOTO: Bryan Bouffier puts the Hyundai i20 WRC to the test in mountains above the French Riveria. (Hyundai pic)
NICE, France – Hyundai Motorsport has taken the i20 World Rally Car to its first victory, although in a round of the French Rally Championship rather than the WRC.
The entry for French duo Bryan Bouffier and co-driver Xavier Panseri in the Rallye Antibes Côte d’Azur, which finished on Saturday, was used as a test for future WRC tarmac events, aimed at completing competition distance and evaluating components.
The team focused on assessing the brakes, transmission and engine-control maps of the Hyundai i20 WRC and will use the information to prepare for the first tarmac round of the season at Rally Germany in August.
Bouffier is a teammate and fellow Hyundai WRC development driver alongside Australia’s Chris Atkinson, who will drive the i20 WRC at Coates Hire Rally Australia on 11-14 September.
Based in the French Riviera, Rallye Antibes’s itinerary comprised six special stages each run twice, totalling 212.58 km over two days of competition.
With the stages run in the Alpes-Maritimes region, competitors tackled iconic roads such as the Col de Blaine, Col de Braus and Col de Turini, including sections of the Rallye Monte-Carlo.
“Rallye Antibes was the perfect event for us to test as it’s a mix of fast and flowing and more technical roads. We were not looking for a result this weekend, but we always tried to keep a good rhythm in the stages and today we had a really good feeling with the car which allowed us to push a bit more and finally claim the victory,” Bouffier said.
“It was nice to be back in the Hyundai i20 WRC after a few months and I could feel a big difference since I last drove it at the end of November last year. The team has done a very good job and I look forward to getting more time in the car and helping them for the future.”