Hyundai was hoping to introduce a new i20 World Rally Championship racer this season based around a yet-to-be-revealed three-door version of the Korean automaker’s i20 subcompact. However, delays in getting the road car ready meant Hyundai’s motorsport division needed to stick with the body of the current five-door i20. And because of homologation schedules, the new i20 WRC won’t be able to race until the start of the 2016 season—at the earliest.
“We had hoped to introduce the new car later this season but unfortunately an issue with the homologation schedule—related to production of the three-door road version—will delay our program,” Hyundai WRC team principal Michel Nandan said. “We have therefore opted to continue focus on the five-door version of the new-generation i20 WRC which will compete at Rallye Monte-Carlo next year.”
Nandan explained that the revised schedule will give the team extra time to ensure the car is performing optimally, which will be crucial if Hyundai has any hope of dethroning Volkswagen from the top of the standings. VW and its reigning world champion driver Sebastian Ogier has won the three races run so far.
An initial four-day test of the new i20 WRC was recently carried out in Spain. Work focused on engine and chassis development, as well as altitude testing. Some of the knowledge gained from these tests will also allow a series of upgrades for the current, 2015-spec i20 WRC.
At present, Hyundai is second in the 2015 championship standings.