Hyundai has announced a raft of new appointments as it works towards its return to the World Rally Championship.

The Korean manufacturer has confirmed it heading back to the WRC with a rally variant of its i20 model, which was revealed to the public during the Paris Motor Show last year.

An upgraded version of the car then appeared in Geneva last month as Hyundai works towards the start of an intensive testing programme, which is due to get underway later in the year ahead of a competitive debut in 2014.

Having named Michel Nandan as team principal back in January, Hyundai has now confirmed a raft of new additions for its WRC programme.

Stephane Girard has been appointed as engine manager and is working alongside chief designer Bertrand Vallat on the engineering side of the programme, while Alain Penasse will take on the role of team manager from 22 April.

Ernst Kopp, formerly involved in Toyota's F1 programme, has been placed in charge of the workshop and is currently recruiting technical staff to help push forwards with Hyundai's plans, while Stefan Ph. Henrich has been named as director of marketing and PR having been employed by Hyundai Motor Europe for over a decade.

"We've been evolving rapidly since the beginning of the year and made great progress in filling all the main roles to establish our core team," team boss Nandan said. "We're facing a big and exciting challenge, in building a team from scratch and we have now only nine months to prepare for next year.

"I'm now surrounded by the best people in the business and I'm confident we'll be ready to meet our ambitious goal to be ready at the start of the 2014 FIA World Rally Championship. While we have a very busy year ahead of us, I believe that team-work together with shared commitment and passion for motorsport are the keys for success."


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