Hyundai denies Loeb deal done despite talks

The Hyundai WRC team will start next season with an unchanged line-up, despite speculation that Sebastien Loeb has signed with the Korean manufacturer.

Hyundai denies Loeb deal done despite talks

Thierry Neuville, Andreas Mikkelsen and Dani Sordo will run a trio of factory i20 Coupe WRCs at round one in Monte Carlo, while Hayden Paddon is likely to replace Sordo for Rally Sweden.

Hyundai team manager Alain Penasse said the team had talked to Loeb, but nothing had moved forward.

“We talked to him like we talked to everybody,” he told Motorsport.com. “That is logical in our position.

"But I don’t understand where all the fuss came from. There was a story in the media about Loeb not being picked up by Citroen – I don’t know why this is – and everybody picked up on it.

"I don’t know what he’s doing. Is he doing rallycross? I have no idea. We know what will be our team in Monte, there won’t be a surprise here.”

More WRC news:

Asked about Paddon’s future, Penasse was full of praise for the Kiwi, adding: “After Rally Australia he’s in pole position for the seat. There was talk about us talking to [Elfyn] Evans and [Craig] Breen, but this has not really gone any further.

“Hayden did everything we asked of him this season, he had a really good year. It’s difficult for Hayden to stay concentrated because of all this stuff in the media about him losing his seat and blah, blah, blah.

"I understand the media has a job to do, but, honestly, some people are making some things up and they even begin to believe their own stories!

“An example of this is our trip to Korea. We had this trip planned for months, to go and take 151 staff from Hyundai Motorsport out to see our colleagues in Korea. Then suddenly this has become some sort of debrief about the season.

"It’s the same next week, we have some people coming from Korea, which has always been planned  to look forward for the next season. This is the normal life, but some people are wanting to make more of it.”

Hyundai team principal Michel Nandan has consistently talked of repeating this year’s split programme between Sordo and Paddon.

While Paddon wants to return to a full season as soon as possible, the New Zealander told Motorsport.com his priority was to remain with Hyundai.

Paddon said: “I feel we did a good job this year and tried our best to work with the team and make sure we brought home solid results on each rally.

"The two rallies where there was a little less pressure to just finish, where we could focus on performance [in Portugal and Australia], we were mixing it at the front. That’s something I know we can do more regularly.

"Naturally, I would like to be doing a full season again and I still back myself to achieve much more in the WRC, but I’m also realistic in what options we presently have.

"We have worked hard with Hyundai Motorsport and the Hyundai brand globally and that’s a partnership that means a lot for me moving forward.”

Hayden Paddon, Sebastian Marshall, Hyundai Motorsport Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC

Hayden Paddon, Sebastian Marshall, Hyundai Motorsport Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC

Photo by: Fabien Dufour / Hyundai Motorsport

shares
comments
Meeke paired with Paddon's former co-driver at Toyota

Previous article

Meeke paired with Paddon's former co-driver at Toyota

Next article

Rovanpera could make 2020 WRC step despite Skoda contract

Rovanpera could make 2020 WRC step despite Skoda contract
Load comments
Remembering Colin McRae’s final WRC win Prime

Remembering Colin McRae’s final WRC win

The Safari Rally returns to the World Rally Championship this weekend for the first time since 2002 - when crowd favourite Colin McRae set aside the maximum attack style for which he was renowned to deliver a textbook third win.

WRC
Jun 23, 2021
How Hyundai's broken record gave Toyota a special Sardinia 1-2 Prime

How Hyundai's broken record gave Toyota a special Sardinia 1-2

For the second WRC gravel rally in a row, a promising Friday for Hyundai turned into desolation as Toyota gratefully picked up the pieces. This time it was championship leader Sebastien Ogier who took full advantage after Ott Tanak and Dani Sordo retired to score a memorable victory, having swept the road on the first two days

WRC
Jun 7, 2021
Why there's no easy fix for Hyundai's operational Achilles Heel Prime

Why there's no easy fix for Hyundai's operational Achilles Heel

Hyundai Motorsport boss Andrea Adamo was vocal in his criticism of his team's tyre choices on Rally Croatia and declared that he "had better move my ass and solve it". Doing so will be vital to getting Hyundai's 2021 WRC title hopes back on track, but finding the root of the problem won't be the work of a moment

WRC
Apr 28, 2021
How Ogier survived road crash drama to triumph in Croatia Prime

How Ogier survived road crash drama to triumph in Croatia

Sebastien Ogier was already in an incredibly tight fight at Rally Croatia before a surprise collision with public road traffic at the start of the final day. But the defending champion held his nerve to take a narrow victory and create further World Rally Championship history

WRC
Apr 26, 2021
Why WRC's hybrid path could leave it at a crossroads Prime

Why WRC's hybrid path could leave it at a crossroads

With all three major manufacturers committing to the World Rally Championship’s hybrid era from 2022, the future of the series is assured for now, but it could lead to trickier twists and turns further down the road

WRC
Apr 1, 2021
How Tanak froze out the competition at the Arctic Rally Prime

How Tanak froze out the competition at the Arctic Rally

Ott Tanak made up for a disastrous Monte Carlo Rally by leading all the way on the snow-kissed stages of the Arctic Rally Finland and in the process hit back at an event Toyota had been expected to dominate…

WRC
Mar 1, 2021
What to look out for in the 2021 WRC Prime

What to look out for in the 2021 WRC

As the 2021 World Rally Championship prepares to launch amid tight COVID-19 restrictions in Monte Carlo, here are the eight things unrelated to the pandemic that you should keep an eye on this year

WRC
Jan 21, 2021
Evans on the talking points of WRC 2021 Prime

Evans on the talking points of WRC 2021

He came close to the title last year, and now Toyota's Elfyn Evans gives his verdict on what to expect from 2021 as the World Rally Championship prepares to reconvene for the Monte Carlo season opener.

WRC
Jan 20, 2021