Hyundai has sensationally withdrawn its customer teams from this weekend’s FIA World Touring Car Cup round at the Nürburgring Nordschleife.
The carmaker announced its non-participation just before the first practice session of the event, issuing a bombshell statement where it complained that the current Balance of Performance regulations had unfairly favoured its rivals and that it is “not welcome” in the series.
“Hyundai Motorsport has announced that our customer teams will not participate in WTCR – FIA World Touring Car Cup Race of Germany (September 24-26),” its statement reads.
“Hyundai Motorsport has the feeling that neither the company nor our customer teams are given equal treatment in the series to other competitors and are not made to feel welcome.
“We remain committed to demonstrating the high-performance credentials of our racing vehicles on an international stage, in series that are reflective of Hyundai’s N brand.”
The news follows a difficult opening round for the i30 N TCR cars in the first event at Zolder, where only two of its four drivers were able to finish in the top-ten.
It marked a significant loss of competitiveness for the manufacturer that had seen it win last year’s Drivers’ Championship title for Norbert Michelisz and finish runner-up in the Teams’ Championship standings.
The root of Hyundai’s grievances are believed to lie in the existing BoP rules – which rivals Lynk & Co exploited to great lengths last year – and the mandatory introduction of a control ECU system. The latter is believed to play a major role in Hyundai’s comparative loss of form, with series organisers permitting the Korean cars to run at an increased power level under their ongoing round-to-round BoP tweaks.
The FIA quickly issued its own statement indicating it would address the marque’s concerns while reiterating its continued aims to ensure fairness in motorsport.
“All the three parties [FIA, WSC and promoter Eurosport Events] are united in their mission to deliver a fair competition for all entrants, from a sporting, technical and promotional point of view, providing a platform to compete on an equal basis,” it countered.
“EEL, FIA and WSC look forward to continued and constructive dialogue with Hyundai Motorsport’s customer teams.”
The withdrawal of the four Hyundai entries and the added absence of any wildcard entries leaves the WTCR grid at just 16 cars for this weekend’s round.
Image via FIA WTCR Media
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