Friday at Rally Argentina was a day to forget for Hyundai crews Dani Sordo/Marc Martí and Hayden Paddon/John Kennard.
The Spaniard suffered a broken steering arm in SS3, requiring 11 minutes of repair mid-stage and ending their podium charge.
Sordo said: “It was really bad luck! There were lots of loose rocks and I knew it would be hard on the cars. We reached a fast right-hand corner in the second stage in the morning and touched something on the inside. The result was a broken steering arm, which we had to stop and fix. We just lost so much time. It’s hugely disappointing because I really enjoy this rally and the car felt quick. Thanks to the team, we could continue into the afternoon. My aim now is to try and make the most of the weekend and see what we can pick up.”
The Kiwi crew of Paddon and Kennard scored their first stage wins of 2017 in SS7 and SS8. It was some consolation for the pair after rolling their Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC in the day’s opening stage.
Paddon said: “Things definitely went better in the afternoon! Conditions have been very rough out there. It’s a lot tougher this year, especially with the extra speed for the new cars. In the first stage of the day, we were caught out at a hairpin and the car rolled. It was very slow and thankfully we could get out and get it back over. The car wasn’t quite as competitive as it was before but we were still in the rally. The team worked fantastically at service to get us ready for the afternoon. It is good to take our first stage win of the season, but we know this will be a rally of attrition so we have plenty still to fight for.”
For Hyundai Motorsport, the issues of the morning loop made for a frantic lunchtime service
The team’s mechanics had to make setting adjustments to all three Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC cars while fixing the various damaged parts that had been picked up by the crews. That’s an impressive feat in just thirty minutes!
Team Principal Michel Nandan said: “We expected it to be rough but that was far more than we’d anticipated. We started the first loop with the set-up of our cars too soft for the conditions; we would have benefitted from better settings to absorb more of the impact from the stages. This was a case of adjusting springs and dampers, which we planned to do at service. With the various issues faced by our crews in addition to these changes, though, it was a busy and difficult service.”
“The mechanics and engineers worked incredibly professionally and quickly to get all three cars prepared for the afternoon loop. The resulting performance was more in line with our aims for this weekend. Lots of things can still happen in this rally. We have Thierry Neuville in a provisional podium position and all three cars still in the rally, so it could be worse. Let’s see what Saturday brings.”