Hyundai Motorsport will be launching its driver development programme this week at the 2018 Autosport International show, along with unveiling their newly liveried New Generation i20 R5 and the driver/co-driver pairing of Jari Huttunen and Antti Linnaketo, who will be participating in the Hyundai Motorsport Driver development Programme.
The Finnish duo will take on selected events in the WRC2 class this season, starting with Rally Sweden and Rally Mexico.
While support will come from the Hyundai Motosport team, it is Sarrazin Motorsport who will be taking on the duties of running the car on the rallies that it enters.
23-year-old Huttunen has already proved he has what it takes to win after tasting victory in the WRC2 class in 2017 at Rally Finland, which was then followed by his selection for the HMDP from a list of potential candidates.
Huttunen also took on Wales Rally GB as part of a private entry with Sarrazin Motorsport, giving the young Finn a taste of what was to come in 2018.
“I am honoured to be representing the Hyundai Motorsport Driver development Programme in WRC2 this season” said Huttunen. “Everyone at Hyundai Motorsport has put a lot of faith in me so I will make it my aim to deliver against the team’s expectations in each of the rallies in which we will compete.
“It will be a learning curve and I intend to make the most of the opportunity. Sweden and Mexico are two diverse events, so we will have to be on top of our game from the start.
“The competition in WRC2 this year is going to be tough, but we have a great car and a lot of optimism, which we will try to translate into positive results in these first two events.”
Hyundai Motorsport Team Manager Alain Penasse added, “We are all looking forward to seeing Jari and Antti compete in WRC2, further enhancing our presence in the WRC community.
“They have acquitted themselves exceptionally well since being confirmed as our HMDP crew for 2018, integrating well with the wider Hyundai Motorsport family. HMDP perfectly showcases our commitment to identify and nurture new rallying talent, and with Jari we feel we have a real star in the making.
“We are also confident in the capability of our New Generation i20 R5, which will look fantastic on the stages with its brand new livery. All in all, it promises to be a big battle in Sweden and Mexico, with lots of top manufacturers and drivers in the WRC2 class.”