Hyundai needs a stronger all-round performance in Argentina, Nandan says

Hyundai needs a stronger all-round performance in Argentina, Nandan says

Rally Argentina, Hyundai, Thierry Neuville

Hyundai Motorsport will seek a return to winning ways as the FIA World Rally Championship (WRC) moves back overseas for Rally Argentina, the fifth round of the 2018 season, next week.

For Hyundai Motorsport, Argentina is a location that evokes happy memories of the team’s dramatic victories in 2016 and 2017. Two years ago, Hayden Paddon took the win with an emphatic performance on the Power Stage, while last year Thierry Neuville won by a mere 0.7-seconds over Elfyn Evans in one of the closest finishes in WRC history.

Twelve months on, the team finds itself on top of the manufacturers’ championship with a four-point advantage over M-Sport Ford. A challenging weekend on the tarmac of Tour de Corse resulted in a third-place podium finish. But the aim for Rally Argentina will be a hat-trick.

The same three-crew line-up will tackle the 18-stage gravel event.  Andreas Mikkelsen/Anders Jæger will be in the #4 Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC, Thierry Neuville/Nicolas Gilsoul – in the #5 and Dani Sordo/Carlos del Barrio in the #6 car.

All Hyundai crews took part in a three-day test in Portugal ahead of the rally, with testing prohibited outside of Europe

Carrying out preparations on the gravel roads near Amarante, the team was also able to validate an engine joker that is being introduced from Argentina.

Team Principal Michel Nandan commented:

“We had a tough weekend in Corsica but salvaged a podium finish to keep hold of our lead in the championship. We have to put in a stronger all-around performance in Argentina if we are to continue in this way. Argentina has been kind to us in recent years with victories in 2016 and 2017. Both of them were delivered in thrilling fashion. Last year’s Power Stage was classic WRC as Thierry and Nicolas won by a close 0.7s margin. We have made some improvements and upgrades to our Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC for this rally. But we know our rivals are pushing hard too. Let’s hope for another great weekend – and possibly even our third Argentina win in a row!”

Victorious in Argentina in 2017 after an unforgettable Power Stage, Neuville holds second in drivers’ championship, 17 points behind Sebastien Ogier.

Neuville said: “Rally Argentina is a famous event and one that attracts an incredible crowd of passionate rally fans. It creates a fantastic atmosphere that we appreciate during the stages. We have good memories of last year’s rally, which we won in dramatic style in the Power Stage. I hope we can pull off a similar result this time around. It is a highly demanding event, very tough on the car and the crew, so it’s not one that we can take lightly.”