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Motorsport media speculation accelerated strongly at the news that Hyundai Motorsport had invited Volkswagen refugee driver Andreas Mikkelsen to test their 2017 i20 Coupe WRC car.

This led to assumptions that their WRC team was about to have four regular drivers.

Team manager, Alain Penasse, told WRC Live Radio that the test came about because the team had planned a three-day test and for one day they didn’t have any driver available!  

“In the end we didn’t want to go to Portugal to only do two days of testing and we asked (his manager Eric Veiby) if Andreas would be pleased to have a run in our car.  

“He was very enthusiastic about it!  We were happy that we did it because we got a feedback that was a bit different from our three drivers.  

“At the end of the day, everyone was happy.  All the rest of the story (about Andreas joining the team) has been made up by a very creative media person, but OK, it keeps the buzz in the championship!”  

Penasse said Andreas drove about 170km and started to really enjoy it.  

Asked to comment on rumours that Andreas could compete in a Hyundai as early as Portugal (19-21 May), could Hyundai provide a fourth 2017 World Rally Car in a few weeks’ time?  

“No, not at all.  I don’t know where this rumour is coming from.  For me Andreas is going to drive (Portugal) with a Skoda and we don’t have any car available.  

“There is no plan at all to have Andreas driving in the near future.  And there is no plan to have a four car team next year at the moment.   

“In the past we have already run four cars and in the Korean world it is important to have more cars.  

“It is something which fits in their brand awareness policy, so we have been looking into what are the possibilities, what are the costs, what are the changes involved and what is the real cost of the fourth car.”

- Martin Holmes

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