Hyundai Motorsport has re-added Bryan Bouffier to its 2014 testing roster, having previously used his talents in the development of the i20 WRC last year.
The Frenchman's skills and capabilities will be employed in a number of development tests ahead of 2015, which will be carried out in parallel to the series of pre-event WRC rally tests.
“We are happy to welcome Bryan back into the team after the great job he did with us last year,” team principal Michel Nandan said, “We have been talking for a while now and we decided that he definitely deserved another opportunity. He will be with us in various development tests throughout the year as we prepare for 2015 and I'm sure that once again he will help a lot.”
Bouffier and co-driver Xavier Panseri are three-time Polish Rally champions and clinched the 2010 French Rally Championship, before winning the Rallye Monte Carlo when it opened the 2011 Intercontinental Rally Challenge. The pair also dominated the legendary Tour de Corse, part of the European Rally Championship, in 2013 and starred on this year's Monte Carlo event.
“I'm really happy to be again a part of the Hyundai Motorsport team,” Bouffier commented, “We had a very co-operative collaboration in 2013 and I'm glad we can continue it throughout this year as well. I will be joining some of the team's development tests during this season and I will do my best to help them to prepare for the 2015 season, bringing my experience and knowledge and giving the team the most detailed feedback possible.”
Hyundai has also taken the opportunity to announce its participation in Rallye Antibes Côte d'Azur - round four of the French Rally Championship – with Bouffier at the wheel as the team tests its i20 WRC on tarmac in preparation for the asphalt rounds of the WRC later this year.
“We decided to participate in Rallye Antibes Côte d'Azur next month to do some mileage on tarmac and test some components for the second half of the season in a competitive environment rather than in a traditional test session,” Nandan explained, “Having won Rallye Antibes before, and being a French tarmac rally specialist, Bryan was the obvious choice for this event, which we will treat the event as a test for collection of data to continue the development of the i20 WRC.”
The German-based squad will enter a lone test car on the event, which offers the advantage of allowing the participation of WRC cars as well as fitting into the team's busy test and competition schedules.
“I'm grateful to be given the opportunity to drive the Hyundai i20 WRC at Rallye Antibes, an event I won back in 2006 and where I enjoy driving every time I go there,” Bouffier admitted, “The aim is to do some good mileage on tarmac and give the team as much feedback as possible for the remainder of the season.”