Rally News

Hyundai looking long term to complete WRC driver line-up

Cyril Abiteboul, Team principal Hyundai World Rally Team

Hyundai signed Breen to share its third factory i20 N alongside veteran Sordo this season. The latter has been a mainstay of the squad since the marque’s return to the WRC in 2014, moving to a part-time role in 2018.

Sordo was announced to pilot the third car at this weekend’s Rally Portugal before Breen’s tragic passing while testing for the fourth round of the championship in Croatia last month.

The team revealed last week that the Spaniard will also compete in the next round in Sardinia next month, but plans for the third car are yet to be announced.

Team principal Cyril Abiteboul told Motorsport.com that the team is assessing its options regarding its driver line-up, with a focus on the long-term future a key variable.

“One thing that I can confirm is that Dani will not be doing all of the rallies and our line-up will be announced in due course and is in the process of being built,” said Abiteboul.

“We are looking into it but it is too early to make a particular announcement. The only thing I can say is that we are not just looking into this year we are looking at where we want to be next year and the year after that.

“I don’t want to see the exercise that we have to do in a very unfortunate circumstance as a gap filling exercise. I want to see that as a strategic decision for the team and for the company.

“We have got hope and expectation to be here for the long term, that is why we can only look at this question of driver line-up for the remainder of this season with the perspective of a long-term impact on the team.”

Cyril Abiteboul, Team principal Hyundai World Rally Team

Photo by: Fabien Dufour / Hyundai Motorsport

Abiteboul hinted that a younger driver is perhaps the most likely option, but also said that five-time WRC rally winner Kris Meeke is a consideration.

The Northern Irishman has been invited by Hyundai Team Portugal to stand in for Breen for the squad’s Portuguese Rally Championship programme which Breen had been contesting alongside his WRC commitments.

Meeke will be joined by Breen’s former co-driver James Fulton for the latest round of the championship that takes place at Rally Portugal this weekend.

“In a certain scenario he [Kris] could be considered but we have got many different scenarios,” Abiteboul added.

“We really thinking about the long term in our planning which will give you an indication of where we are looking.”

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