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Hyundai signs WTCC star Gabriele Tarquini as TCR test driver

Gabriele Tarquini

Hyundai has signed 2009 World Touring Car champion Gabriele Tarquini as test driver for its newly-announced TCR project.

The Korean marque announced it would be expanding into TCR in the near future with a car based around the i30 model.

Hyundai said its new machine would go through a testing programme in 2017 before it starts deliveries - and it has now signed Tarquini to bolster development.

"To be able to bring such an experienced driver into the project at this early stage is a big step forward," said Hyundai's customer racing boss Andrea Adamo, who previously worked with Tarquini at the JAS-run Honda WTCC team.

"Gabriele is recognised as one of the most successful current touring car drivers."

"He has also shown his ability to work with a team, helping to develop a project for competition. For us, this is very important.

"The TCR marketplace is growing, but it is very competitive, with a number of top manufacturers building models for the regulations.

"Because of this we need to take full advantage of all of our test running over the coming months so we can deliver a strong car to our customers that they can be competitive with in the full range of championships worldwide where TCR specification designs are welcomed."

Tarquini, 55, has been part of the World Touring Car Championship since it returned 2005, but he does not yet have a deal confirmed for this year following his Lada team's withdrawal over the winter.

"I'm very pleased to have joined Hyundai Motorsport and their TCR project," Tarquini said.

"You can see from their rally team that they are working at a very high, a very professional, level.

"This will be my first time developing a TCR car so to be the lead test driver for the project is an exciting new challenge for me."

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