Shell is making a return to the FIA World Rally Championship (WRC) with a multi-year programme as title partner of the Hyundai Shell World Rally Team. The Hyundai i20 WRC will use Shell Helix Ultra motor oil and feature Shell Helix branding in all WRC events, starting with the team’s debut at the Rallye Monte-Carlo in January 2014.

Rally fans might remember the Shell logo on Ford, Skoda and Suzuki teams in the past. Shell-backed teams have won the manufacturers’ championship three times (Talbot in 1981 and Peugeot in 1985-86) and two drivers’ titles (Timo Salonen in 1985 and Juha Kankkunen in 1986).

The WRC is one of the most challenging motorsport competitions in the world, with roads ranging from ice and snow to asphalt or gravel and temperatures ranging from -30°C to +40°C, so engine demands are always at their highest, requiring a top lube.

“Shell is delighted to be returning to the WRC with Hyundai Motorsport. Shell and Hyundai Motor Company have been working closely together to deliver a high quality product to customers around the world for more than eight years. We bring a genuine understanding of each other’s strengths to this exciting new team as the i20 WRC prepares for its first competitive season,” said Colin Abraham, Shell’s VP of marketing.

G.H. Choi, president of Hyundai Motorsport GmbH, said: “It is with great satisfaction that we welcome Shell as title partner of Hyundai Motorsport. Our two companies, have forged a mutually-successful partnership in recent years and we are pleased to have them as part of our young WRC programme as the Hyundai Shell World Rally Team.”

The i20 WRC will be piloted by fast-rising rally star Thierry Neuville, who finished (a distant) second to champion Sebastian Ogier this year. If you’re wondering about that big N on the car, that’s Hyundai’s new performance sub-brand, like BMW’s M and VW’s R. Click here to read more about Hyundai’s N.