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Neuville to lead Hyundai's 2014 WRC challenge

Thierry Neuville waves during the first day of the FIA World Rally Championship WRC Neste Oil Rally Finland near Jyvaskyla July 31, 2013. RE
Thierry Neuville waves during the first day of the FIA World Rally Championship WRC Neste Oil Rally Finland near Jyvaskyla July 31, 2013. RE

(Reuters) - Belgian Thierry Neuville has been signed as Hyundai's lead driver in the South Korean manufacturer's return to the world rally championship next season, the team announced on Tuesday.

Hyundai said the 25-year-old, currently driving a Ford for the Qatar World Rally Team, has signed a multi-year agreement and will race the new i20 car in all 13 rounds of the championship in 2014.

"By signing a driver of Thierry's talent, we can show that Hyundai's WRC engagement is serious and focused on long-term success," said team principal Michel Nandan in a statement.

Neuville is second overall in the current standings, behind Volkswagen's French driver Sebastien Ogier who has already won the title.

Hyundai, whose team are based in Germany, will be competing against Volkswagen and Citroen for the manufacturers' crown. The Korean company last competed in the championship in 2003.

(Reporting by Alan Baldwin, editing by Amlan Chakraborty)

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