03/06/2014 - Hyundai World Rally Team will contest this weekend´s Rally Italia Sardegna, round six of the FIA World Rally Championship, with three cars as it tackles brand new territory with the ever-evolving Hyundai i20 WRC car.

New Zealand driver Hayden Paddon will be making his debut with the Hyundai World Rally Team alongside his co-driver John Kennard for the first round of a seven-rally campaign with the team behind the wheel of the Hyundai i20 WRC. The Kiwi duo will be scoring points for the Hyundai Motorsport N entry. Paddon and Kennard will join Thierry Neuville (7 Hyundai i20 WRC, co-driver Nicolas Gilsoul) and Juho Hänninen (8 Hyundai i20 WRC, co-driver Tomi Tuominen), who was a previous winner of Rally Italia Sardegna in the 2010 Intercontinental Rally Challenge.

Thierry Neuville said: "Rally Italia Sardegna is quite tough; stages are technical and quite narrow making it very easy to make a mistake. There can be stones on the line which you need to take care about that can make things even more difficult. We had a good result here last year and we know the event quite well now having contested it three times previously. We will make the most of this event to continue to building the experience together with the team and of course we will look at bringing home some positives from Italy for the remainder of the season."

Winner of Rally Italia Sardegna in 2010, when the event was part of the Intercontinental Rally Challenge, Juho Hänninen is eager to make a positive return behind the wheel of the Hyundai i20 WRC this weekend. Hänninen commented: "Rally Italia Sardegna is an event I know quite well, I have been there four times before and I won it back in 2010. It´s a demanding rally with warm weather and a lot of grip changes. Surface can be hard in some places and sandy and quite slippery in other places. It´s also very narrow which makes it very easy to make a mistake. We carefully prepared for this event and for sure we will do our best to help the team to get as much feedback as possible to develop the Hyundai i20 WRC."

On his first outing with the Hyundai World Rally Team, Paddon has clear goals for Rally Italia Sardegna alongside his compatriot co-driver. He said: "We´re delighted to be joining the Hyundai Shell World Rally Team, it´s an incredible opportunity and I´ll work very hard to make the most of it. This will be my first time in Sardinia so I´ve been studying a lot of videos online to prepare for it. I know that the stages are narrow and twisty and there could be some rocks on the road so we need to keep out of trouble. Being my first event we will focus on getting to the finish and then, show progression on each throughout the season."