Hyundai Motorsport has announced that French rally ace Bryan Bouffier has joined the team as part of its test driver line-up for 2013. The news comes just one week after confirmation that Finnish driver Juho Hänninen is participating in Hyundai Motorsport’s development program with the new i20 WRC this year.
Bryan Bouffier, a three-time Polish Rally Champion, was crowned French Rally Champion in 2010. He also won the Rallye Monte-Carlo, the Intercontinental Rally Championship in 2011 and more recently dominated the legendary European Rally Championship, Tour de Corse. His vast experience as a test driver and expert analysis skills will be essential to help grow the team and to further assess and develop the i20 WRC.
While Juho Hänninen drove the i20 WRC for the first time back in May, Bryan Bouffier had his own taste of the car during the past week. Both drivers will be Hyundai Motorsport’s main test drivers for 2013, along with a number of other drivers who will support them during the rest of the year. Hyundai Motorsport aims to derive the full benefits from the wealth of different rally experiences that each driver brings in order to make the i20 WRC the most complete package possible.
“I’m happy to have Bryan on board. He adopts a very professional driving style and can give detailed technical feedback as well as being a very consistent driver, which are all very important attributes for a test driver. Together with Juho’s experience of WRC events and his speed on all terrains, I am sure we have a strong and well-rounded line-up for our testing program,” said Hyundai Motorsport team principal Michel Nandan.
Bouffier said he was pleased to be joining Hyundai Motorsport’s test program and to be part of the team for this year. It’s true that there is a lot of work to do but the team is in place and the facilities are impressive, so we have good foundations to build upon. This is an exciting program and I’m sure the summer time will be very busy and hopefully just as productive.”
The announcement of the two test drivers for Hyundai’s participation in the 2014 World Rally Championship follows the opening of Hyundai Motorsport’s new headquarters in Alzenau, near Frankfurt in Germany. Hyundai Motorsport was officially registered on 19 December 2012 and started full operation at the beginning of 2013, now employing 50 WRC specialists from 11 nations.
The Hyundai Motorsport facility, which underlines Hyundai Motor’s commitment to Europe, is ideally located in Alzenau which benefits from the transportation links of the Frankfurt Rhine Main region. The 8 200 m2 building is within a 50 km radius of the Hyundai European Technical and Design Centre at Rüsselsheim and Hyundai Motor Europe in Offenbach.
Later this year the Hyundai Motor vehicle test centre at the Nürburgring will also be opening close by.