Lovely title, isn’t it? :( But the occasion really is lovely, for today we have learned that one of our favourite teams (it’s right there on equal points with others, in terms of likability) will also develop an R5 version of their existing WRC machine. That team is Hyundai Motorsport and their R5 contender should be ready for its first competitive steps in approximately one year time. As team principal Michel Nandan said, this not only brings another car to the R5 battlefield, it also strengthens and reaffirms company’s commitment to motor sports and rallying in particular. Which, in my book, is great news.
Currently, R5 class is quite popular and nicely populated. When i20 R5 joins the existing bunch, consisting of Ford Fiesta R5, Peugeot 208 T16, Citroën DS3 R5 and, as of recently, Škoda Fabia R5, it will round up the class. All teams will also have customer car programme running, let’s hope there is bright future ahead for R5 even under the new rules, whatever they make them to be in 2017.
Perhaps this also means that there is still hope for TMG-built Toyota Yaris WRC prototype. Tommi Mäkinen could turn that car into an R5 – problem solved. Of course, as many have suggested, by the time Yaris WRC makes it to the WRC stages we will probably see a completely different car, based on new or updated road going version. But is Toyota going to go down the R5 road and is that something TMG could be involved with? Time will tell, let’s see if they can build a WRC car first.
Article about Hyundai’s R5 plans here.