Chris Atkinson will make his debut for Hyundai next month after confirmation that the Australian will be at the wheel of the new i20 WRC for the third round of the World Rally Championship in Mexico.
The Australian, who had already been confirmed in the team's second car alongside Thierry Neuville for his home event later in the year, was part of Hyundai's test team last season and has been chosen for Mexico thanks to his previous success on the event.
Atkinson took his best ever finish in the WRC on Mexican soil back in 2008 where he took second behind Sebastien Loeb.
“It has been a great pleasure to have been involved in the testing of the Hyundai i20 WRC but to have the opportunity to contest Rally Mexico with the team is fantastic,” he said. “I have had several good results in Mexico, including my best WRC finish of second place in 2008, so I have some great memories of this event and the Mexican fans.
“It will be the competitive debut of the Hyundai i20 WRC on gravel so it will be interesting to see how we can perform. I know how hard everyone has been working to prepare for this season so I hope we can repay them with a good result!”
Hyundai team boss Michel Nandan said Atkinson was the 'perfect choice' for the opening gravel round for the car.
“We are very happy to have Chris on board for Rally Mexico, an event he has contested several times during his career and one that he knows very well,” he said. “After Rallye Monte-Carlo we had to start making decisions on Rally Mexico and we thought Chris would be the ideal choice for our first rally on loose surface. We were impressed with Chris' pace in Mexico last year and having feedback from a different driver will definitely help us significantly to further develop the Hyundai i20 WRC.
“Chris was also a major asset during our testing year in the development of the Hyundai i20 WRC in the build-up to our participation in the FIA World Rally Championship and he certainly deserves to be part of the team this year as well.”
Dani Sordo drove the second i20 on the season opener in Monte Carlo, while Juho Hanninen is set to be in action in Sweden for round two.