Hyundai Motorsport’s WRC pairing Dani Sordo and Carlos del Barrio will join the field at next month’s Rali Serras de Fafe at the wheel of an i20 R5.
The crew will join the gravel rally, the first round of the Portuguese national championship, as part of their preparations for Rally México. The competition – just two weeks before the Léon-based event – will give the Spanish duo an opportunity to focus on finding a rhythm in driving and working together, ahead of their seasonal WRC debut.
The outing will be their second in an i20 R5. They were on the podium in last year’s Rally Barum in their first appearance with the car. Having proved the performance of the machine on tarmac stages the weekend in Portugal will be their first time driving the i20 R5 on a loose surface – another aspect of the rally that should ready them for the conditions in Mexico. The extra preparation of an event in the R5 should ensure that they begin their 2019 in the WRC car on the pace, able to make the most of the potential advantage presented to them by their relatively high road position for the opening day.
Hyundai Motorsport will work closely at the event with Hyundai Portugal who will enter two crews in the event at the start of their domestic campaigns
Hyundai Motorsport engineers will be able to assist their Portuguese counterparts in preparing and setting up the cars for the rally. The additional support on site – on top of that already provided by the Customer Racing department – reaffirms the company’s commitment to its customers and should ensure a strong start to the season for the two Portuguese crews.
After clinching the 2018 title with Team Hyundai Portugal, Armindo Araújo will begin his title defence at the event. Meanwhile, the second car will be driven by European Rally Championship front-runner Bruno Magalhães, who will be making his first career start in an i20 R5 in Fafe. He will now, however, have not only his teammate but also Sordo to help him adapt to his new machine.
Between them the three crews will be seeking to use the proven performance and reliability of the i20 R5 to take the top of the final standings as customers teams around the world continue their preparations for their own 2019 seasons.
Dani Sordo said:
“For me, it is important to compete before Rally México. The Rali Serras de Fafe will help me and Carlos get back into the feel and the pace of competition after a winter out of the car. It will be my first time at the event, but I know the conditions and some of the stages as they are same as Rally de Portugal, but it should be very good training for Mexico. I’m looking forward to driving the Hyundai i20 R5 again. I drove it on tarmac last year, and it should be fun on the gravel stages as well. The rally is very popular, with a lot of fans, so it will be great to work with the other Hyundai i20 R5 crews to put us all at the top of the times.”
Hyundai Motorsport Team Director Andrea Adamo said:
“Having Dani and Carlos in a Hyundai i20 R5 at the Rali Serras de Fafe gives them every opportunity to have a strong start to their year in competition, both in the R5, and in the WRC at Rally México. The entry in Portugal will ramp up their preparation for the start of the WRC season. It will provide the perfect foundation – alongside pre-event testing in the WRC car – for Rally México, where their relatively late road position could give them an early advantage. We will work closely with Hyundai Portugal to support them, and ensure we make a very strong start to the year alongside our customers in harnessing the potential of the Hyundai i20 R5.”
Os puedo anunciar que disputaremos el Rally Serras de Fafe en Portugal a bordo de Hyundai i20 R5 como preparación para el Rally de México 🇲🇽
📸 [Hyundai Motorsport] pic.twitter.com/AqPTLDR0Mx
— Dani Sordo (@DaniSordo) January 25, 2019