WRC - Hyundai expects weaker showing

Hyundai team principal Michel Nandan expects the i20 WRC to be further off the pace on Rally Mexico than on either of the opening two rounds of the season.

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Thierry Neuville drives his Hyundai i20 (Reuters)

Nandan says the high-altitude nature of the stages on round three of the 2014 World Rally Championship trail will expose the i20's engine more than in Monte Carlo and Sweden.

But he says this is all part of the team's development programme.

"This event is a test for us," said Nandan. "We will probably have much more difference in the power compared to our competitors because we are not at the same level and we are also more safe on the engine side."

Nandan said competing in Mexico would help the team understand more about the engine, but a specification change following high-altitude testing last season makes it harder to know what to expect from the car.

"It's true that this event will help us to know where we are as far as things like boost pressure and turbo speed are concerned, but we know there is still a lot to do in this direction," he said.

This week's central American event will be Chris Atkinson's first time out competing with the i20 WRC. The Australian completed around 100 miles in his pre-event test, but prior to that had not driven the car since last October.

"I can't wait to get started," said Atkinson. "I like this rally and it's great to be here with a new and really exciting team.

"For me, the priority has to be to get the car to the finish. The team needs data and that's why we're here."

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