Australian World Rally Championship driver Chris Atkinson has been confirmed as the second Hyundai Motorsport factory driver for the Rally of Mexico in March.
The former Subaru WRC driver has been part of the Hyundai Motorsport team since July last year and the Mexico round will mark his first entry into a WRC event with the i20 rally car.
Atkinson, affectionately known as ‘Atko’, will drive the Hyundai i20 WRC #8 car alongside co-driver Stéphane Prévot, partnering with the team’s number one driver, Thierry Neuville.
The Mexican round of the WRC has been one of Atko’s best events, having finished second in 2008 in his Subaru WRX STI WRC car.
The Hyundai i20 WRC cars both failed to finish the Monte Carlo rally earlier this month with one crashing out and the other retiring after an alternator failure. The Mexican round could prove vital for Atko to prove his expertise and potentially ensure more drives this season.
The Australian has already secured a drive for the Rally of Australia later this year.
Hyundai is using the i20 WRC program as a way to expand its expertise in performance vehicle development and has vowed to create a performance division of ‘N’ cars in the coming years.
The motorsport division has been running since late 2012 and is based in the outskirts of Frankfurt in Germany, forming a close partnership with the company’s head office in South Korea.
Atkinson spoke with CarAdvice recently about his thoughts on what the WRC program can bring for Hyundai vehicles both globally and in Australia.