Sebastien Loeb has switched to Hyundai on a two-year deal and will contest six rounds of the 2019 World Rally Championship, while Dani Sordo secures a one-year contract extension which sees Hayden Paddon edged out of its driver roster.

With Thierry Neuville and Andreas Mikkelsen signed up on long-term WRC deals, Hyundai’s third car has been shared between Sordo and Paddon for 2018.

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But with nine-time WRC champion Loeb eager to return to action, Hyundai has nailed down a partial programme with the French driver after his exit from Citroen ahead of the arrival of reigning WRC champion Sebastien Ogier for 2019.

Loeb, who won this year’s Rally de Espana in dramatic style for Citroen, will take part in six WRC events with Hyundai and share the third car with Sordo for 2019.

“I am delighted to announce that Daniel and I will compete in six WRC events for Hyundai Motorsport in 2019, beginning with Rallye Monte-Carlo,” Leob said. “Winning at Rally de Espana this season re-ignited my desire to continue competing at the very front of WRC. Joining Hyundai will give us a fresh challenge and one that I can’t wait to tackle.

“I have been impressed with the team’s approach and their determination to succeed. They were firmly in the title fight this season and I feel that I can bring a lot to them, together with Thierry, Andreas and Dani.

“The Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC is a proven rally winner, and as a crew we know can still be up there with the best, so 2019 promises to be an exciting season.”

Sordo will begin his sixth consecutive WRC campaign with Hyundai, with his full campaign yet to be decided, but is expected to compete in the remaining eight WRC events which Loeb will not take part in, and is naturally relish a return to action next year.

“Hyundai Motorsport has really become a special team to me, so I am pleased to remain part of the WRC line-up,” Sordo said. “We have built some good memories over the years, and, alongside Carlos, I felt that 2018 was one of my most competitive seasons.

“We know that when things work in our favour we can really be strong contenders. It is important for us to learn from the difficult moments and come back stronger – that’s the aim for 2019.

“We have an exciting crew line-up with Sébastien coming on board. He brings an immeasurable amount of experience which will be a huge benefit to the entire team as we move forward.”

Hyundai also confirmed it has “opened dialogue” with Paddon to offer him options to remain in the team fold for 2019.

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