Kevin Abbring and co-driver Seb Marshall yesterday claimed the first major rally victory for the New Generation i20 R5 at the Rallye du Var in the south of France.
The Hyundai Motorsport crew took overall victory at the event, the last round of the French national championship season, by almost a minute. Throughout the weekend Abbring and Marshall were able to match the times of the front-running WRC-spec cars, outpacing them on several occasions. However, when the demanding stages caught out their rivals they were able to take their New Generation i20 R5 to take the overall victory. They became only the second non-French and first R5 crew to win the rally.
“The New Generation i20 R5 was great all weekend,” said Kevin Abbring. “The handling balance was perfect! We came here to prove the competitiveness of the car, and an overall win is best way to do that. The stages here are very tight so it’s not surprising that many drivers made mistakes. We’ve shown on other events that the car is very competitive, and it’s great now to have the result that we’ve deserved for so long.”
The victory comes only two months after the New Generation i20 R5’s debut at the Tour de Corse. Since that event Hyundai Motorsport has worked with their customers to consistently develop the car while competing at events across Europe.
Meanwhile, the number of chassis delivered continues to grow. The order books for the New Generation i20 R5 are now filled well into next year. Hyundai Finland have confirmed the first example to be sold into Scandinavia, while a car will also run in the Middle East in the hands of a privateer.
“Overall victory on the Rallye du Var is a great moment in the New Generation i20 R5 project,” added Hyundai Motorsport Customer Racing department manager Andrea Adamo. “The event was extremely demanding, with tough roads in difficult conditions. Kevin showed the real potential of the car here, matching the pace of WRC crews on several stages. He did a great job over the whole weekend, but everybody in the Customer Racing department has worked hard to make sure that we deliver a product capable of competing at the highest level. Since the debut of the i20 R5 in September our customers have shown the same strong pace on the stages as we did here. I, along with the Customer Racing department look forward to working with them to make sure this is only the first of many victories for the i20 R5.”