Hyundai's Thierry Neuville has confirmed that the team will begin testing the new i20 WRC “soon” and he is “quite optimistic” it is going to be fast.
Hyundai had originally hoped to introduce its new car at some point this season, however due to homologation issues
the Korean manufacturer had to push its debut back to the start of the 2016 season.
Asked how development work is going on the new car prior to this weekend's Rallye Deutschland and if it will be able to compete at the front in 2016, Neuville replied: “I hope so, for sure! The target is to bring it to Monte Carlo, which is a lot later than expected, but that's life. We are working hard on it. Testing will start soon and it is another improvement.
“I am quite optimistic that it is going to be fast, but we still have some work to do to get it ready for Monte Carlo.”
Meanwhile, returning to this year and this weekend's event in Germany – scene of his and Hyundai's maiden WRC win twelve months ago – Neuville said it was nice to be back.
“It is quite thrilling, because I do have nice memories indeed,” he continued. “The two last years I was fighting for victory here.
“In 2013, I wasn't able to take the win, but last year we managed to win. Jari-Matti [Latvala] was very fast and led, but he went off, and then it was the fight between me and Kris [Meeke], and finally we won. I always feel good at this rally, so let's see what we can do this year.”
“It will be difficult for me to be better than last year!” he joked. “We know we can't fight for victory on our own pace, but I want to make it onto the podium. I want to try to do a good rally, because the past few events have been difficult for me.
“I had some difficult times in the last couple of months. We expected to be closer than we are at the moment, but I have to accept it and try to forget it, which is not so easy. I try to get back to my usual pace here and be competitive again
“I am happy to be back on tarmac.”