Hyundai has added former factory Volkswagen and Peugeot driver Kevin Abbring to its World Rally Championship lineup for 2015. The 26-year-old Dutchman will primarily be the team’s test driver, but he will also contest some WRC rounds in the i20.
“I watched the team’s debut season in the WRC with interest and they really surpassed everyone’s expectations,” said Abbring. “I look forward to making a contribution to the ongoing development of the car and working with a very talented team of people.”
Abbring was part of Peugeot’s factory European Rally Championship program with the new 208 T16 in 2014, although he retired from every event bar Azores, where he finished second.
He had previously been a VW protege, making several WRC appearances as team-mate to Sebastien Ogier in the Super 2000 Skoda Fabia during 2012 while VW was preparing its new World Rally Car, but he lost out on a place in the WRC lineup to Andreas Mikkelsen.
Abbring also carried out some roll-out tests for Hyundai during 2014, and team boss Michel Nandan said his attitude and experience with other manufacturers made a strong impression.
“He is an extremely talented young driver and definitely one to watch for the future,” said Nandan. “We take our role as a WRC manufacturer seriously and have to invest in the talent of tomorrow.
“He impressed us with his approach and his ability in some roll-outs last year and we followed his progress in the ERC and Rally of France closely. He has vast experience with different rally cars and his contribution to the development of our new generation i20 WRC will be valuable.”
Hyundai will field Thierry Neuville, Dani Sordo and Hayden Paddon as its main WRC lineup this year.
Juho Hanninen, part of Hyundai’s works roster last year, will be back in the WRC for Rally Sweden with a privately entered Citroen.
Originally on Autosport.com