Hyundai has announced Shell as the major sponsor of its World Rally Championship and revealed its 2014 livery ahead of its first event – the Monte Carlo Rally – in January. The official name of the team is the Hyundai Shell World Rally Team.
It also confirmed a new sub-brand to build road-going performance cars, called N, with further details to be announced.
On the rally front, ex-Citroen driver, Spaniard Dani Sordo, is to be final driver in the team’s line-up. Sordo joins 2013 WRC runner-up, Belgian Thierry Neuville, the pair spearheading the 2014 Hyundai campaign alongside Juho Hanninen driving in the Swedish event, and Chris Atkinson joining on his home event, Rally Australia.
Hyundai is returning to the WRC for the first time since 2003, with a brand new operation built from the ground up under the guidance of engineer Michel Nandan. The team will run the i20 hatch, which is both a similar size to the VW Polo that Sebastien Ogier won this year’s title, and also allows the necessary wheel travel for the demands the 13-rally championship. 'Our aims for 2014 are realistic,' says Nandan. 'We want to finish each rally with both cars and build up a database of information and experience so we can develop ourselves into prospective rally winners in the future. If all goes well, we hope to be competing for occasional podiums as the year progresses.'
>> Click here for CAR's report on the 2013 WRC champions: Sebastien Ogier and VW WRC
Shell’s partnership stems from a long tradition in WRC – remember Shell on the Group B Peugeot 205s, and the Ford Escorts of Bjorn Waldegarde, Ari Vatanen and Roger Clark.
The Hyundai Shell World Rally Team’s first rally will be round one of the 2014 WRC, which will be held on January 14-19, 2014.