Teenage rally star Kalle Rovanpera has been selected as one of the eight drivers who will fight for a Hyundai factory seat in the 2018 World Rally Championship’s WRC2 class.
The seven drivers who join Rovanpera in the next stage of Hyundai’s process to find a future star are current WRC2 competitors Emil Bergkvist, Gus Greensmith and Pierre-Louis Loubet, works Opel European Rally Championship Under27 driver Jari Huttunen, WRC2 event winner Karl Kruuda (who is currently competing in China), Peugeot ERC driver Pepe Lopez and German Rally Championship frontrunner Rene Mandel.
Those eight will go forward to a test on gravel and asphalt using an i20 R5 next month.
Hyundai said its selection criteria was based on the drivers’ performances on rallies and an interview process when they attended the factory in Germany earlier this month.
Autosport understands 18 drivers were interviewed to reach the next round. Britons Chris Ingram and Tom Cave were among those who missed out.
Cave scored a podium on his first WRC2 outing in Finland last month, while Ingram is leading the European Rally Championship Under27 runners in a works Opel Adam R2 and is competing on the Barum Rally this weekend.
The selected driver will tackle a full 2018 WRC2 programme with Hyundai.