Hyundai’s hope for victory at Rally Monte Carlo vanished

Hyundai’s hope for victory at Rally Monte Carlo vanished


Hyundai Motorsport’s hope of securing a maiden Rally Monte Carlo victory ended on Saturday afternoon when Thierry Neuville damaged his car during the final stage of the day.

The Belgian had further increased his impressive lead of the rally to 50 seconds heading into SS13 but his i20 Coupe WRC ran a bit wide at the exit of a slow corner. A resultant impact caused suspension damage that required Neuville and co-driver Nicolas Gilsoul to carry out lengthy repairs.

The crew spent 30 minutes on a temporary fix and made it cautiously to the stage-end and then back to Gap for service. The team has worked meticulously to get the #5 car ready for the final day. There still are manufacturer and Power Stage points for grabs.

Thierry Neuville said:

“We started this morning knowing that Sébastien [Ogier] would be pushing hard. So we responded to that confidently with a stage win. Our lead was up to one minute. We took a strategic decision at the start of the afternoon loop to play safe on tyre choice. We lost a bit of time but we were still in control.”

“In the final stage, I felt comfortable. At the start of the stage, I played with the diffs to get into a good rhythm, and things felt fine. But we went wide into a third or fourth gear corner and there was a lot of gravel. We knew this from our gravel crew, but I must have been too quickly back on the throttle because the car went wide and we hit something like concrete. Immediately, we knew something had broken so we had to stop and fix it.”

“It was a small mistake. I am very disappointed, more so for the team to be honest because they’ve worked so hard. We wanted to bring home the win for all of them but unfortunately it’s not to be this time. The pace we have shown this weekend has been exceptional so let’s see what we can salvage on Sunday.”

Dani Sordo suffered power steering issues on the same stage, which lost him over one minute. The Spaniard still holds a top-five position on the overall classification.

Sordo said:

“We had a much improved morning compared to the struggles we faced on Friday. The conditions were better, and we were able to find more grip. I was generally a lot happier and more confident in the car. We still needed to work on the balance but we could set quicker stage times and move up the classification a bit. The afternoon loop continued this trend but then, in the final stage, we suddenly lost the power steering. We were very fortunate that nothing happened and we could make it to the end of the stage. We need to use the positive aspects from today to prepare for the final stages on Sunday – and hopefully to make up a position and score some Power Stage points.”