About 10 years ago, Hyundai Accent owners ever walked with their chests puffed out a little bit, as their daily driver econo-hatch was actually being raced in the World Rally Championship. Despite the impressiveness that Hyundai actually got this car into the WRC, it was a widely unsuccessful attempt because it never got a podium appearance and Hyundai cut funding in 2003.
It looks like Hyundai is ready to jump back into the WRC circuit, only this time with a more highly modified vehicle. It will also not be an Accent, but rather a heavily modified i20. However, don’t expect this Hyundai rally ride to look as much as the i20 in your garage as the Accent rally car did, as this model will sit on a chassis that is significantly wider and lower than the factory model.
In addition to the modified chassis, this i20 will ditch the 1.2- and 1.4-liter gasoline engines that it comes standard with and instead have the turbocharged 1.6-liter from the Veloster . There is no way that Hyundai would enter the WRC with a stock 201-horsepower 1.6-liter engine, so we assume that Hyundai will pump this engine to over 300 ponies to keep it competitive.
We definitely expect a much better performance by Hyundai this time around because the company has really come into its own when it comes to technology. Hyundai has also become one of those brands that folks can rally around, as it has really come from often being the butt of automotive jokes to a well-respected company that actually gives the big boys – Honda, Toyota and Nissan – a run for their money. So, don’t be surprised if to see the fancily written “H” on the podium at some point in the 2013 WRC series WRC.
gallery: Hyundai i20