Thierry Neuville will move from his usual drive in the #8 Hyundai Shell World Rally Team to the #20 Hyundai Mobis World Rally Team for the final round of the FIA World Rally Championship in Wales. The move comes as Hyundai looks to consolidate their second place in the championship and start their 2016 preperations early.
Dani Sordo will remain in the #7 Hyundai Motosport i20 WRC and will be joined by Hayden Paddon in the #8 Hyundai i20 WRC for Wales Rally GB while Neuville drops back to the Hyundai Mobis World Rally Team in the #20 car alongside Kevin Abbring in the #10 car.
The move comes after a dip in form for the Belgian driver with Neuville, his co-driver Nicolas Gilsoul, Neuville’s manager and Hyundai Motorsport team management coming to a mutual agreement at the factory today.
“This decision has been reached following a productive meeting with the team in which we both discussed openly our thoughts ahead of the final rounds of the season and planning for 2016” said Neuville.
“For me, the decision to move to the #20 car for Wales Rally GB will free me up from any Championship pressure and allow me to focus solely on my own driving.
“This will be important as I strive to regain my confidence ahead of 2016. Next year will be an important season for all of us so this approach will allow me to get my pace back and enter the winter period in the perfect mindset.
“We can then tackle 2016 together with greater ambitions with the New Generation i20 WRC, and continue to make progress as a team. This is the right decision for me and the team at this time, and it is testament to our positive way of working together that we can reach this conclusion calmly and collectively.”
While the change comes in to affect for the final round, the line up will remain as usual for the upcoming Rally de España.
“We have not reached this decision lightly but after a long and open discussion with Thierry and Nicolas.” added Team Manager Alain Penasse.
“Firstly, we know we need to fight as hard as possible in the remaining rounds of 2015 to secure second place in the Championship. Picking up as many points as we can in these events is vital and the drivers’ form is key to unlocking our full potential.
“Talking to Thierry, we felt that we needed to find a way for him to regain his confidence and we think removing Championship pressure from him will help him get back on track ahead of our 2016 campaign.
“Everyone in the team is 100% behind Thierry and we feel this is the right decision to take for Wales Rally GB. We have made a similar driver switch in the past to good effect, and we hope this will again be beneficial not only to the team, but to Thierry as well.”