Hyundai test driver Kevin Abbring “exceeded expectations” on his WRC car debut on Rally Sweden last weekend, round two in WRC 2015.
Abbring was drafted in after team-mate Dani Sordo
suffered two broken ribs at the start of the month while training on his mountain bike near his home.
Despite being thrown in “at the deep end” however, the Dutchman came through to finish just outside the points in P11 in the #20 Hyundai Motorsport N entry.
“Kevin has exceeded our expectations here with a mature rally,” confirmed Hyundai team boss Michal Nandan.
“He has kept his head down, worked hard and delivered a classified finish just outside of the top ten.”
Abbring also declared himself pleased with the event and while he had a few offs – notably in SS2 and SS16 – he also set some pretty respectable times, peaking with seventh fastest times in SS9 and SS15.
“This is an event I certainly won't forget in a hurry and I am really happy to have finished my first event in the Hyundai i20 WRC,” said Abbring.
“It has been an incredible experience and a real privilege to have tackled these tough Rally Sweden stages. They definitely demand respect. I have built my confidence throughout the weekend and thoroughly enjoyed myself.
“We've had a few moments, which is to be expected in our first event on these conditions, and we lacked rhythm in the pace notes in places, but there are so many positives to take away.
“The team has been exceptional and have helped me and Seb [Marshal – my co-driver] to find our feet quickly. I can't wait to get back behind the wheel of the car in my next WRC event.”
It is currently unclear, however, when Abbring will be back out competing in the World Rally Championship, as his main focus currently is on testing and helping to develop the new generation i20 WRC, which is due to make its debut later this year.