The World Rally Championship
always needs more entrants. So be glad here’s another: Hyundai. They’ll be
entering this supernaturally hormonal i20.
Sure, right now
Hyundai might not be the nameplate you most naturally associate with popping
hissing turbos, or getting big air, or cornering via the driftoteque. But then,
you wouldn’t have expected how soon and how thoroughly they challenged Europe’s
best hatches with the new i30.
You wouldn’t have expected the
Veloster before it happened. This is a name on the move.
When exactly it
starts competing isn’t sure. The FIA has to give it an entry, and while that
might be some of the later 2013 rallies, it might be 2014. Whatever, Hyundai
will be diligently testing ‘til they’re allowed out in anger. The car will have
Hyundai’s own 1.6 turbo engine and a proprietary rally gearbox and 4WD.
The team will be
based in Germany, but the rally car’s basic design and engineering is already
being designed in Korea. There are no drivers recruited yet, but we were told:
“We know a good driver makes all the difference, and we’re in this to
And even if you
don’t follow rallying (why not?) this is good news. Already a team of engineers
has been recruited whose specific job is to feed back from the rally car into
road cars. Allan Rushforth, chief of Hyundai Europe, tells us they want to have
more hot cars. To make them better, they listen to what we say and now they’re listening to what rally drivers say.
history’s great road cars have come out of rallying - the Escort Cosworth,
Lancia Integrale, the Audi Quattro, the Impreza Turbo, the Mitsubishi Evo. A
bunch of engineers trying to make another sounds OK to us.