The Hyundai Shell World Rally Team is expected to this week announce who will drive its second i20 in the third round of the WRC in Mexico.
Hyundai ran with Spaniard Dani Sordo in the #8 i20 at the opening WRC round, the time-honoured Monte Carlo Rally, last weekend.
Australia's top ranked rally driver Chris Atkinson is sharing the #8 hatch with Sordo and Juho Hanninen, with highly rated Belgian Thierry Neuville pilotting the #7 entry for the full 13 WRC rounds in 2014.
Hyundai has not named who will drive the #8 entry beyond Hanninen's confirmation for the next round in Sweden from February 5-8 as it plans a rotational policy of its drivers.
The German-based Korean WRC outfit have closely guarded the driver roster for the second car with Atkinson only confirmed for Rally Australia in Coffs Harbour from September 12-14.
However Atkinson remains firmly in contention to run in Mexico where he finished sixth last year in a Citroen and is noted as a technically strong performer on tough gravel events.
Hyundai has scheduled a test in February which is likely to be in Spain or Portugal in the build-up to Mexico.
“I'm training flat out and ready to go when I'm needed,” Atkinson told Speedcafe.com
“I'm preparing as if I'm doing the next rally.”
Atkinson attended the Monte Carlo Rally and had discussions with the team boss Michel Nandan however there were no hints about any decision for Mexico.
The Hyundai team experienced a difficult baptism to its re-entry after 10 years to the WRC with Neuville crashing out on the first stage.
Meanwhile Sordo set some encouraging pace following the first loop before his rally ended after stage four with an apparent electrical problem.
While crucial competition mileage was scuppered for both cars in the most difficult conditions, the Hyundai i20s displayed genuine pace in the Wednesday shakedown.
A day later Sordo managed to post the second fastest time behind Volkswagen's Jari-Matti Latvala on the 25.49km Orpierre to St Andre De Rosans run before his i20 failed to refire at the staging area ahead of SS5.
Atkinson along with key team members say it is a little premature to measure where the Hyundais are placed in the pecking order of pace given their early exit from the Monte and the wildly varying conditions.
“It's difficult to say because the conditions were tricky. But you still need a top car to do the times Neuville and Sordo were doing,” Atkinson said.
“The first three events of the year are all unique. Monte Carlo with a mix of snow and ice and Sweden the only full snow rally and Mexico at high altitude.
“Really it will be a few more rallies before we know the absolute pace of the car but its going to be improving as well.”