WRC veteran Michel Nandan has been appointed as Team Principal of the Hyundai i20 WRC team, strengthening the squad and adding another vital part for success.
The Korean firm announced it would be on the start line for one race of the World Rally Championship this year back at the 2012 Paris Motor Show, acting as a “test” race, before moving on to contest a full season of the WRC in 2014.
Its car of choice – a modified Hyundai i20 – has already begun testing in many of the different, hostile conditions it’ll face during a full season of competition.
Frenchman Nandan has held many key technical positions for world-class WRC teams in the past, so is a strong addition to the firm’s competition line-up. And with the news of Nandan’s appointment comes the announcement that it’ll be an all-new outfit overseeing the running of the i20 WRC.
The rally team will be run by a wholly owned subsidiary – Hyundai Motorsport GmbH – based in Germany.
Executive Vice President of the newly formed company, Tak Uk Im:
“Hyundai is excited to re-enter WRC, and we’re back not just to compete, but to win.
“Hyundai and WRC form a perfect match, and our racing experience will translate directly into performance and handling improvements in our road-going vehicles.”
As the 2013 season of the WRC begins Hyundai will embark on a year of preparation, relentlessly testing its i20 to forge the qualities any good WRC team needs: speed, performance and reliability.
Under Nandan’s guidance this goal can certainly be achieved:
“I am honoured to have been chosen by Hyundai to spearhead its exciting new entry into the WRC. The project is still in its infancy, but things are moving rapidly, and I am looking forward to developing the team as this year progresses.
“There is much to be done, of that we are fully aware, but with a dedicated facility in Germany and an ambitious core of highly motivated personnel, we are already making good progress.”
Hyundai has not yet confirmed which event it will contest as a “shakedown” event in 2013, but Nandan did admit that the firm was using an interim version of the i20 to carry out “important component testing.”
A full-on 2014 spec racer will be rolled out later this year.