Hyundai has outlined how it will slot its four driver combinations into three entries for the 2018 World Rally Championship, with both Thierry Neuville and Andreas Mikkelsen set for full campaigns while Dani Sordo and Hayden Paddon will split driver duties in its third car.
Towards the end of 2017 Hyundai snapped up former Volkswagen Motorsport driver Mikkelsen after the Norwegian entered selected rounds for both Citroen and Hyundai last year. Mikkelsen has been handed the #4 Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC for the full 2018 WRC season with Neuville, runner-up to M-Sport’s Sebastien Ogier last year, will enjoy a full campaign in the #5 car.
As a result, Sordo and Paddon have effectively been demoted from a full WRC season drive and will share the #6 Hyundai throughout 2018. Sordo has also selected a new co-driver in Carlos del Barrio after splitting with Marc Marti.
Having narrowly missed out on both the WRC drivers’ and manufacturers’ titles last season, Hyundai team principal Michel Nandan is eager to make amends this year and has drummed in a demand for stronger consistency in 2018 having felt too many DNFs and point-less outings cost the team at the end of the season.
“We head into our fifth season in the WRC in high spirits and with even stronger ambitions to fight for the drivers’ and manufacturers’ championships,” Nandan said. “We came close in 2017 but we also recognise where we fell short in terms of our performance and consistency. We aim to rectify that this season.
“There are no revolutionary changes to the regulations this year so all teams will be building on last year’s foundations. We are very respectful of our rivals. Their performances only serve to make us try to improve ourselves from one event to the next. This is what drives us forward, as we work towards our ultimate championship goals.”
The 2018 WRC season-opening Rallye Monte Carlo gets underway between the 25th-28th January with the full entry list yet to be published.