The nine-time world winner will kick off his six-event programme with the Korean manufacturer in the French Alps later that month and recently visited with the team’s Alzenau headquarters to undergo a seat matching.
Nevertheless, the Frenchman’s participation in the coming Dakar Rally (6-17 January) means he and also co-driver Daniel Elena will probably only have a limited time to test the i-20 till they take their new car to battle on the Monte asphalt.
“We have a very brief window of opportunity to test the i-20 Coupe WRC until Rallye Monte-Carlo,” he admitted. “I am back from Dakar only on the 18th [of January], and also the recce for Monte is scheduled for its 21st.
“I am hopeful that we shall be as well prepared as we are for the opening WRC round of this summer season, even with the brief time.
Recognising he simply has two weeks to get to grips with the i20, Loeb used his visit to Hyundai’s base in Germany to finish crucial trainings he thinks may help “Enhance our limited evaluation time until Monte”.
With no luxury of a broad pre-season familiarisation programme, Loeb is realistic about his chances of success in monte carlo, an event he has won seven days during his glittering career.
He explained: “Of course, I hope that we can struggle for wins but at the same time that I know it’s going to be a tricky struggle to return in to WRC with a fresh car and a brand new team.
“I did three rallies past year [using Citroën] and won one of them. I hope I will get fast utilized to the i-20 Coupe WRC and be able to reveal competitive pace — and possibly even maintain the search for first location.
Hyundai’s Rallye Montecarlo Lineup may even include Thierry Neuville and Andreas Mikkelsen.