Despite Rumours that Hyundai will be returning to the WRC much in the same way as VW will be entering in 2013. There has yet been no official comment or confirmation from Hyundai.
Hyundai competed in the WRC from 1998 to 2003 but with varying success. Hyundai unveiled the Accent WRC, a World Rally Car based on the Hyundai Accent. The Hyundai World Rally Team debuted the car at the 2000 Swedish Rally and achieved their first top-ten result at that year’s Rally Argentina, when Alister McRae and Kenneth Eriksson finished seventh and eighth, respectively. Eriksson later drove the car to fifth place in New Zealand and fourth in Australia. In 2001, Hyundai debuted a new evolution of the Accent WRC, which was intended to improve reliability, but the performance of the car was still not good enough to challenge the four big teams (Ford, Mitsubishi, Peugeot and Subaru). However, at the season-ending Rally GB, the team achieved their best result with McRae finishing fourth and Eriksson sixth.
For the 2002 season, Hyundai hired the four-time world champion Juha Kankkunen, along with Freddy Loix and Armin Schwarz. Kankkunen’s fifth place in New Zealand was the team’s best result, but they managed to edge out Škoda and Mitsubishi by one point in the battle for fourth place in the manufacturers’ world championship. In September 2003, after a season hampered by budget constraints, Hyundai announced withdrawal from the WRC and planned to return in 2006, this has never happened though.
New rumours came about, firstly in 2011 when Hyundai were expected to be announcing future rally plans at the 2011 Chicago Auto Show, The rumours were that their plans for rally were focused around the newest Hyundai release, the Veloster. But nothing came of it.
Earlier this week, on the German Auto motor und sport website reported that the Korean manufacture has almost completed a race version of it’s i20, the website also suggests that it will lead on to a rally programme. But no word has came from the manufactures as of yet.
However there is a mockup picture of the Hyundai i20 racecar, note the ‘WRC’ logo on the number plate!