Hyundai Motorsport has released its first official images of its i20 R5 undertaking gravel testing in the hands of Kevin Abbring.
Derived from the same five-door road car as its full-fat WRC sibling, the i20 R5 came alive at the Fontjoncouse test base in southern France in late-January.
Managed under the 25-strong ‘Hyundai Motorsport Customer Project’ division, the turbocharged 1.6-litre i20 R5 programme is led by Andrea Adamo.
Designed to ‘enhance Hyundai’s motorsport image around the world’, the customer project is aimed at WRC2 as well as national and regional rally championships.
Adamo said: “We are thrilled to have begun testing of Hyundai Motorsport’s new R5 rally car, which is the product of several months’ work by our team in Alzenau.
” Kevin carried out the initial test in Fontjoncouse last week and we have really hit the ground running. The first tests with the New Generation i20 R5 will be focused on reliability so we can resolve any teething problems as we develop a car that customers can enjoy driving without any compromise to performance.”
R5 is a current hotbed of rally car development, with M-Sport’s latest Fiesta R5 Evo dominating the WRC2 category at the Monte Carlo Rally, in the hands of Elfyn Evans. He will face stronger competition in the form of Skoda’s Fabia R5 as the WRC season moves to Rally Sweden and beyond, with the Hyundai coming on-stream later in the season.
The all-wheel drive i20 R5 WRC2 challenger will continue testing until homologation is granted in the European summer of 2016.
While we await the i20 R5, why not relive our ride with Hayden Paddon in the i20 WRC?