Two cars in the top eight for Hyundai Motorsport after this weekend’s new-look Portugal event
May 24, 2015 Our team had a positive end to the fifth round of the 2015 WRC season with two cars finishing in the top eight overall. Tyre management was key to unlocking performance over this new-look rally and provided a valuable learning experience for our young team. The final three stages Fafe run twice and Vieira de Minho offered some closely fought battles for classification.
Dani Sordo competed with Mads Østberg for sixth place and in the end came out on top. His first Fafe run was clean, and even though he lost time on SS15, his Power Stage performance secured a top-six finish. Overall, I am happy with what we achieved on this new-look rally, said the Spaniard, who enjoyed huge support from local crowds. It has not been easy to manage the tyres. We struggled on Saturday, but there have been signs of encouragement and Ive been happier with the handling of the car today. This is good for us to build on for Sardinia.
Hayden Paddon added another top-eight result to his name after a strong weekend. He was involved for the fight for sixth place but worn tyres on the long SS15 left him in eighth overall. I would like to thank the team for fixing the car after Saturday, said the young Kiwi, which allowed us to get back out this morning. We found it difficult with different wear rates on the tyres. The Fafe stages were amazing with a great atmosphere I have never done the stages before and it was a special feeling. I’m quite happy with how this weekend has gone it gives us confidence for the next rally.
Thierry Neuville re-joined today’s stages under Rally 2 after rolling the car early on Saturday. It has been a challenging rally for the Belgian driver but he used the last day to find his rhythm and prepare for the next round of the championship. It’s been a weekend to forget for me, said the Belgian. We struggled on Friday with tyre strategy, then had our issue on Saturday morning. Thanks to the hard work of the team, we were able to re-join the rally this morning. It was important for us to get the confidence back and I am sure we will come back stronger in Sardinia.
Rally de Portugal gave the team valuable experience on the new stages. A strong performance on Friday included a stage win and a second place, showing the potential of the Hyundai i20 WRC against our tough competition.
We can be reasonably satisfied to have two cars in the top eight with Dani in sixth, commented Team Principal Michel Nandan. It’s not where we want to be finishing but tyre tactics have been a challenge for our young team. We were able to field all three cars this morning, thanks to the work of the team to repair the cars after Thierry’s roll on Saturday and Hayden hitting a rock on SS13. All three drivers drove sensibly to get all cars to the end. We’ve learned a lot and will prepare for the next event, where I hope we can compete closer to the front runners.