World champion Ott Tänak and WRC 3 title challenger Jari Huttunen have begun testing Hyundai Motorsport’s all-new i20 N Rally2 car.
Huttunen was first behind the wheel for an initial shakedown near the team’s Alzenau base in Germany. The Finn was then joined by Tänak last week for three days on gravel roads in central Italy.
The pair completed more than 500km of development and Tänak’s first impressions with a car that will be eligible for the FIA World Rally Championship’s WRC 2 and WRC 3 support categories next season were positive.
“I had two busy days in the Hyundai i20 N Rally2, and with the Customer Racing department we were able go through a lot of work with the suspension and balance of the chassis. It is clear the car has some nice characteristics, so there is a strong base to work from,” he said.
“As an all-new design it is always important to get the first information about the car, and performing the opening tests before the end of the year gives the team the chance to continue the work over the winter and into the New Year.”
The Estonian will be back in the car in 2021 and will be joined by a number of drivers with WRC and R5 expertise on different surfaces.
The car is designed for private teams and follows on from the i20 R5 with which Hyundai Motorsport entered the customer arena at the end of 2015. Order books are now open and the first cars will be delivered next year.
Andrew Johns, Hyundai Motorsport’s customer racing operations leader, said the initial work focused on the car’s handling and driveability.
“Though these days have concentrated on chassis and driveability, during the development phase we will run on all surfaces and expand our focus to make sure that every area of the chassis is optimised for different set-ups and driving styles.
“In Ott and Jari we had two very talented drivers on hand, and with their feedback, and that of the other drivers who will join the testing in the months to come, our engineers will be able to make sure the i20 N Rally2 is a strong all-round package,” he added.